Students participating to foreign symposiums have the opportunity to live priceless experiences. When it comes to extending our knowledge, comparing the level of veterinary medicine here and abroad, gaining new valuable contacts, representing our alma mater, and also  experiencing those beautiful moments during our travels, which we will never foget.

This year, we were able to attend the SAVMA Symposium in the USA, thanks to the generous travel grant offered by the American SAVMA (Student American Veterinary Medical Association), which allowed us to cover the cost of flights and almost the whole accomodation price. This experience was also possible thanks to a great support from our University that helped us to pay the registraion fees. Each year, this student organisation runs various symposiums in different cities, therefore we – students Júlia Švagerková (5th  year, GVM), Vanda Lukačínová (5th year, GVM) and Dominika Fabianová (6th year, GVM) – members of IVSA Slovakia, were very excited to be take part tothe meeting heldbetween March 15th – 17th 2018, in Philadelphia, Pensylvannia.

The programe itself was divided into 8 sections – Companion Animals, Equine, Research, Exotics, One Healh, Food Animals, Diversity & Wellness, Professional Development. When compared to slovak conferencies, one of the main differences I found, was that the same emphasis were put on on both, the animal health and the physical hleath, especially the pshychological health of the vet doctor. Presentations covered the troubles that new graduates students will face when trying to find a future job, paying student loans or even just having happy family life alongside with a successful carrier. Not to mention the many treatment procedures and inovative surgeries that were presented. We were mostly stunned by kidney transplant in cats, for which donor Penn Vet shelter cats are adopted afterwards by recipients´owners. Modern scintigrafic procedures were also very captivating as well, which are us when correcting tracheal colapse, ectopic ureters or portosystemic shunts in dogs and cats.

It was fascinating to attend wet labs that were prepared for participant, and to experience the wonderful atmosphere and possibilties of studies in America. Moreover, we tried laceration repair on skin pads, examination using thermocamera and obstetrics simulation using cow models in New Bolton Center Hospital, Penn Vet´s study center for clinical rotations near Philadelphia.

As members of IVSA Slovakia we also took part to the international IVSA meeting, in which chapters where presented to discussed what every person association has accomplished, and give our opinions on new improving suggestions and future cooperation when organizing international exchanges.

Since we had few more days during our trip, there was enough time to explore streets of Philadelphia. Philly is a really interesting historical city with a pleasant atmosphere, and after a few days, it felt like home. Even a two-hour bus ride to New York couldn´t stop us, so we visited the Big Apple as well. We spent an entire day, from early morning to late night, just walking around Manhattan and its famous monuments.

All of us are really grateful for this opportunity, it was like a dream only few months ago, and time flew by too fast. We would like to encourage all of our students to apply for grants, contact various organisations and travel as much as possible. Not every university is as supportive as ours when it comes to extra-curriculuar activities performed outside of the university. Please, do not hesitate and take your chance! Next year´s SAVMA Symposium will be held in Athens, Georgia, and you could be there too.


Dominika Fabianová