The Annual VetEd Symposium 2018

Experiencing Dutch Culture at the VetEd Symposium


The annual Veterinary Education Symposium (VetEd Symposium) is a congregation of veterinary educators with the aim to share ideas and innovations for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students and/or vets. Keynote speakers are invited to present various workshops and short communication sessions which are interactive and interesting. Typically, it is hosted in the UK, however, for the first time it was hosted by an underrated city in the Netherlands known as Utrecht.

IVSA Netherlands was on the search for other committee members from other Member Organisations willing to help out at the VetEd Symposium. Seeing this opportunity, I grabbed it and the next minute I am seated on a plane to Utrecht, Netherlands. Upon my arrival, I already came face-to-face with a few challenges such as staying off the bicycle lanes and trying my best not to look lost (thank goodness for Google Maps). However, day by day, the challenges dwindled (and so did my phone’s memory storage) and were replaced with veneration for the beautiful city I was in. I was hosted by three delightful people who were truly accommodating and were more than willing to help ease me into the Dutch culture.

At the VetEd Symposium, I had the privilege to engage with other students from various parts of the world such as the UK, Algeria, Macedonia and Poland. We worked together efficiently to register the delegates, set up the conference rooms and just generally ensure that the symposium ran smoothly. In return, we were compensated with Dutch student meals, canal tours, sightseeing and entry into the much boasted end-of-year Vet Student Party.

I am forever grateful for this experience. For being able to explore the small, winding streets of Utrecht and learning about the history that enriches the city. For experiencing how the sun only sets at 21:00. For exposing me to a different culture and also making me more appreciative of my culture and country. For being pushed out of my comfort zone which tested my character, resulting in me learning new things about myself. For being exposed to other veterinary campuses and the lives of other vet students. For deepening my passion of animal wellbeing, for helping me to realise my role as a young, aspiring vet and to give back to IVSA which I plan to do as my next step.

Travel, exchange, symposium, congress. I say do it because it provides you with the lesson that no other teacher can teach.

- Andrea Lau

67th IVSA Symposium in South Korea 2019

Soul in Seoul - Adventure in South Korea 

Firstly, I would like to thank IVSA for giving me the great opportunity of being part of the 67th Symposium in South Korea this extremely cold 2019 January for the duration of 10 days. Besides the harsh weather I had a great time that I will cherish for the rest of my life. So here is an outline on the great adventure that I had.

We spent the first 5 days in Seoul-the capital city of South Korea, next 3 days in Jeonju city and final day back to Seoul. In the duration of the first 5 days, we went to the Namsan tower- a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul where we got to see the beautiful view of the city. We then went to the war museum which is about the war history of Korea and got to discover that South Africa played a part in it. After that we went to the Korea Horse Racing Authority where we were privileged enough to spend some time in close contact with the race horses. On the following day, we had about 4 optional tours from which I chose to go to the Lotte World tower and experienced the beauty of the nearby frozen lake and of course some Korean food. We then went to Gyeongbokgung Palace which was a King’s palace and is now used as a historical tourist site. I was thrilled by the remarkable architecture of the royal houses together with traditional the drawings and paintings on their walls.

We then spent the next three days in Jeonju city whereby we visited the National Institute of Ecology consisting of different animals and plants according to their respective biomes. Later on, we went to the Jeonju Night Market where we tried out different Korean street food. We also visited Hanok village and got to walk around in hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) as we were exploring the area, at the same time feasting on delicious food. On the last day we went back to Seoul where we had our formal dinner and said our final goodbyes.

Apart from the outings that we were on about, we also got some serious work done. Like attending lectures on neurology, oncology and emergency medicine to name a few. We also had General Assembly meetings where important matters of the IVSA were attended to. All in all, South Korea was a wonderful experience and I would like to again thank IVSA for giving me this opportunity. I will forever cherish it because now I know how to use chopsticks “LOL”.

- Rofhiwa Hlongwani 

My Experience in South Korea


Before attending the symposium, I didn’t know much about the IVSA so I only wanted to go for the thrill of visiting a foreign country. But I was pleasantly surprised when I finally understood the purpose of the symposium and the role of IVSA in the veterinary profession.

I was able to meet people from around the world, as well as get to know people from my own university that I wouldn’t have normally spoken to. The general assemblies gave us an opportunity to learn more about the rules of the IVSA. From the symposium I learnt that the IVSA is an organisation run by veterinary students that helps connect veterinary students around the world and introduces us to other organisations that can help us as students and in practice. The organising committee arranged opportunities for us to explore South Korea and experience their culture. We visited sites such as the War Memorial Museum in Seoul and a Hanbok village in Jeon-ju. There were optional activities and tours where I got to take part in a Korean percussion quartet and participate in a Buddhist temple stay. We also had free time where we could explore, go out or just relax and interact with the other delegates.

I would encourage others to attend a symposium or congress because not only do you learn more about the IVSA but you also have an opportunity to learn from people that have had different experiences from your own.

- Andricia Padayachee

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” 
Mark Twain