Veterinary students from the University of Copenhagen Veterinary School in Denmark recently spent two weeks at St. George’s as part of the International Veterinary Students Association (IVSA) exchange program. Twelve students were given the chance to immerse themselves in Grenada’s culture as well as gain an understanding of life as a veterinary medical student while gaining experience in the veterinary healthcare system of another country.
“The system in America and Canada is a bit different to that of Europe. Where we have five years of study in Denmark, SGU offers three years of study plus one year of clinical rotations at affiliated universities abroad,” said fourth year veterinary student Ida Langemark. “That’s one of the reasons we chose SGU, to get that global perspective and to see how it differed from our own system.”
Lea Hau Andersen, also in her fourth year of vet school, chose SGU for its diversity and the opportunity it provided to witness how students in other parts of the world approach their veterinary education. Noting the difference in teaching styles and how interactive the classes were between professors and students, the Danish students also found SGU’s beatific campus and state-of-the-art facilities and equipment quite impressive.
The exchange students attended lectures, junior surgery labs, including a surgical skills anatomy lab, a biopsy lab and an equine wet lab after touring the Large Animal Research Facility. They made ambulatory rounds with sixth term students, and hiked to Hog Island on a herping trip where they found 11 snakes. In addition to the academic side of their trip, the members of the Grenada chapter of IVSA treated their guests to fun activities that included exploring the spice island, visiting the famous Grand Anse beach, enjoying Salsa night at Junctions and receiving their scuba diving certifications.
“IVSA Grenada did a terrific job of organizing this trip for us,” praised Kathrine Junge Rasmussen, a third year veterinary student who also celebrated her birthday while on the trip. “It was just the right balance of academic and non-academic activities. We not only had an opportunity for a lot of hands-on, practical veterinary training, but we also got to learn from fellow students at SGU. Meeting people from other countries, making new life-long friends and the exchange of knowledge are what I value most from this experience.”
IVSA is a non profit, non-governmental organization operated by veterinary students from around the world, with the aim of improving the international standard of veterinary education through the exchange of ideas, knowledge and culture. In 2012, the Grenada chapter of IVSA participated for the first time in the student exchange program and since then has organized selectives and exchange trips to Africa, Spain, Nicaragua, and several other countries, including a visit from exchange students from Belgium last March.
By Ray-Donna Peters