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International Programs Student Trip Reports
In keeping with Texas A&M’s Vision 2020 objective of graduating students with a global perspective based on global experiences, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences provides a limited number of travel stipends to students to help them gain international work/study experiences. The following travel reports give an overview of what our students learned while living, working, and studying abroad.

Germany - Patricia Warne

Germany - Patricia Warne My time overseas has literally changed my life. My time abroad was spent in Germany, a country that I fell in love, with and hoped to return to following graduation. I spent four weeks in a small animal general practice, and then two weeks in an alternative medicine veterinary practice. In general, the medicine between Germany and the US is very similar. My day at the small animal practice started just before 8am and continued until 8pm on some evenings. They had a walk in clinic that saw 40% dogs, 40% cats, and 20% pocket pets. I learned that it is very normal for small animal clinics to have a significant portion of their patients of the very small and furry pet variety. This is partially due to most of the clients living in apartments as well as German's love for all animals regardless of how small. We saw rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, mice, and rats on a daily basis. I learned quite a bit about how these animals are treated, such as, i... (Read More)

Queensland, Australia - Michelle Boatwright

Queensland, Australia - Michelle Boatwright If you ever get the chance to study an area of veterinary medicine that we don't have access to at school I highly recommend you jump at the chance. I chose to explore wildlife medicine. I had no idea when I set out to find a 4th year externship that I would end up on the other side of the world in Queensland, Australia. It was 24 hours worth of traveling to get to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital but it sure was worth it when we landed in beautiful Queensland. The beaches, mountains and rainforest all merge together in one breath-taking view. Located near Australia Zoo at Beerwah in Queensland, Australia, the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital was opened in March 2004 by Steve Irwin (best known as The Crocodile Hunter). Nearly 100 wildlife emergency calls are received daily and up to 30 different species are admitted to the hospital every day. It is the largest wildlife hospital in the world and saw over 6000 cases last year alone. While I was... (Read More)

Guatemala - Clay Whitten and Scott Fleming

Guatemala - Clay Whitten and Scott Fleming Our trip to Guatemala was organized through the Texas Equine Veterinarians Association, the Equine Initiative, and World Horse Welfare.  Scott and I were joined by five veterinarians and one industry representative from across the country to comprise the team of eight that traveled to Guatemala.  We all met at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport on Saturday October 6, 2012 and began our 8 day journey to Antigua, Guatemala and the surrounding rural areas.  Our plane arrived in Guatemala City well after the sun had set for the day.  We loaded our belongings onto the top of a bus and began our trek to Antigua through the mountainous terrain of Guatemala. We began our work in San Andres Itzapa, a hilly town not far from Antigua.  We set up our work site at a local soccer field and began seeing horses for the day.  We only saw fourteen horses for the day with the most prominent problems being chronic saddle sores and poor hoo... (Read More)

Hong Kong - Stephanie Yip

Hong Kong - Stephanie Yip As I was thinking about where to do my externships during my fourth year, the choices seemed endless. How could I choose just one (or two) practices to spend time in when there were so many to choose from? Then a presentation that a former fellow vet student, Hanlin Song, had given a couple of years ago came to mind. With the help of Hanlin, I contacted the vets in Hong Kong, and before I knew it, I was sitting on the plane on my way to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Jockey Club has a total of 15 vets who oversee the welfare of all the horses living in Hong Kong as well as any horses that are imported or exported.  5-6 veterinarians work at the racetracks and take care of the approximately 1200 horses that live at the racetrack. In addition, there are three public riding schools and a handful of private riding schools, which another three veterinarians oversee. The first two weeks I was there, I worked with the equestrian vets who went aroun... (Read More)

Gore, New Zealand - Kim Aeschlimann

Gore, New Zealand - Kim Aeschlimann The fourth and final year of vet school began and I found myself slowly adjusting to the constant yo-yo of two-week rotations and all night emergency shifts. The months of summer came and went and before I knew it August had arrived and my externship was about to begin.  I was to embark on the longest journey of my life-to a land halfway around the world; to one of the most southern (but still populated) latitudes on the planet; to a place with no other description than paradise; to a place called New Zealand. After flying for over 24-hours at long last I landed in Queenstown at 8:50 am on August 18th, 2012. It was to be a four-week mixed animal externship near the southern most tip of the South Island, which is larger, but significantly less populated than the North Island.  The entire country of New Zealand with its population of 4.4 million could inside of Texas three times. The livestock- mostly sheep, beef and dairy cattle-outnum... (Read More)

Obihiro, Japan - Kristen Hurn

Obihiro, Japan - Kristen Hurn On Wednesday June 27th at 8:30 in the morning after almost 24 hours of traveling, I touched down on a small dirt runway in Obihiro, Japan. Tired and in desperate need of a shower, I slowly made my way to the single baggage claim to pick up my belongings. After pulling my four heavy bags to the main entrance, two figures in the distance caught my eye. Kobayashi san and Matsumoto san stood smiling and carrying a hand made cardboard sign which read, "Welcome to Obihiro, Kris." After exchanging greetings and loading my heavy luggage into their small K car, they both smiled back at me and asked if I would like to eat some gelato. Before I knew it we were eating green tea and pumpkin gelato outside next to a dairy farm at 9:30 in the morning. The day proceeded much like most days proceed in Japan; unexpectedly and full of surprises. Instead of a hot shower and a nap, I went with Masui sensei and Haneda sensei to a draft horse farm to check their mares ... (Read More)

Ecuador - Rebecca Hoffschwelle

Ecuador - Rebecca Hoffschwelle I am currently pursuing a degree in Biomedical Science as well as a BIMS International Certificate in Cultural Competency and Communication in Spanish. In addition to certain classes and shadowing hours, this certification requires at least nine days abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.  Through an organization called UBELONG, I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a medical volunteer in Ecuador for thirty days. During my time in Ecuador, I lived outside the small, coastal town of Muisne on the Congal Forest Reserve.  Most days, I traveled either to Muisne to work in the hospital or to Cabo (another small town) to work in the clinic.  My duties varied from day to day, but generally consisted of some combination of running biochemical tests on urine and blood samples, taking vital signs (such as blood pressure, height, and weight), and observing and assisting with patient examinations.  I saw cases that were a fascin... (Read More)

Hong Kong, China - Stephanie Kuo

Hong Kong, China - Stephanie Kuo For some reason, I had always convinced myself that studying abroad would never be as life-changing as people claimed. Putting my stubbornness behind me, I challenged myself this past summer by traveling to Hong Kong and Fuzhou, China in hopes of enlightenment. With the help of fellow student Hanlin Song, I was fortunate enough to obtain an externship with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, where I shadowed several equine veterinarians. I was, by no means, proficient in all that the equine world entails, but it only took a month's time for me to turn my initial hesitation to working with horses into a love of working with them. I also learned valuable information and clinical skills while at it! I then moved to the small city of Fuzhou to work at a panda reserve. I did not spend as much time there as I did in Hong Kong, but I was able to learn basic panda husbandry. And to top it all off, I got to take a picture with a panda! How cool is that? While my... (Read More)

Hong Kong and Cheng Du - Hanlin Song

Hong Kong and Cheng Du - Hanlin Song In the summer of 2010, I was able to visit Hong Kong and the city of ChengDu in mainland China between my second and third year of veterinary school. I went on a self-directed study abroad to gain experience in different aspects of veterinary medicine in China. My goal in Hong Kong was to work in the racehorse industry at the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). After Hong Kong, I wanted to work at a Giant Panda preserve in mainland China. Hong Kong - Hong Kong Jockey Club My experiences working with the HKJC were fantastic and memorable. Hong Kong has a distinctive culture due to its unique history as one of two Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of China. You don't need to be able to speak Chinese fluently to enjoy yourself at HKJC. All the veterinarians at HKJC speak English and have graduated from veterinary schools all over the world - including schools in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. I was on a first-name basis with all of the veterin... (Read More)

Germany - Danielle Nissman

Germany - Danielle Nissman There are things I know of because I read of them, because I was taught about them by parents or in school, or because I otherwise gathered it from my experience in this American culture. There are words that I think I know, but when asked to give the definition and the origin, I falter and say "you know, I'm not exactly sure. Let's look it up". Wanderlust. Noun- A strong, innate desire to rove or travel about. Origin: 1902. From German, literally "desire for wandering." I have known this word for years. I googled it once when I heard it in a Flogging Molly song of the same name and again when I read it in a novel. I knew what it meant but I never appreciated its history (or recognized that it is part of the German language tradition of sticking two words together to handcraft your own new word), and certainly never understood it through my own experience. There are many things that I have long understood on a conceptual level, but no matter... (Read More)