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67th IVSA Symposium South Korea Reflection

Laci Taylor ǀ Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine ‘22

This past January I had the privilege of attending the 67th IVSA Symposium in South Korea. I participated in a variety of lectures, wet labs and day trips along with 149 other delegates representing over 30 countries. As a first-year veterinary student, and first time Symposium attendee, I was both thrilled about the opportunity to connect with veterinary students and professionals around the world and the opportunity to learn more about the impacts of IVSA on a global scale.

Shortly after arriving at Chonbuk National University in Jeonju, South Korea, I attended the Welcome Dinner where I met my roommate, a veterinary student from Austria. By the end of the first day I met students from all over the world and even managed to run into a few familiar faces of veterinary students I had met elsewhere on trips abroad.

The following day began the business portion of Symposium where I participated in my first of six General Assemblies. During assemblies we discussed past business regarding the 67th IVSA Congress in Kraków, chose the location of the 69th IVSA Symposium (Greece), made bylaw amendments and elected a new President. I also assisted IVSA SAVMA in voting in favor for the addition of new member organizations to IVSA Global. General Assembly is where I learned about the structure of IVSA Global including its Standing Committees and Working Groups.

One of the Standing Committees that really caught my attention was SCOH, the Standing Committee on One Health. I was amazed at the topics that they were tackling within the fields of both veterinary and human medicine. Of note was their collaboration with Mission Rabies, on their “Zero by 30” Campaign which aims to eliminate human incidences of rabies by the year 2030. The interdisciplinary approach that SCOH utilizes is paramount to finding solutions to many of the pertinent issues facing veterinary public health today. The Working Group on Alumni was another group that caught my attention. I was able to attend IVSA Symposium with both students and current veterinary professionals that were previously student members of IVSA. This gave me the opportunity to understand the present state of the veterinary field internationally. It also sparked my desire to contribute to a functional alumni database to facilitate collaboration between students and current veterinary professionals.

Between General Assemblies, IVSA Symposium functions to immerse and educate its members on the veterinary medical history, culture and traditions of its host country. The organizing committee did an excellent job organizing activities that allowed us to explore South Korea. The first few activities that I participated in were in Seoul. We traveled to the Korea Horse Racing Authority and the War Memorial of Korea. At the Korea Horse Racing Authority, our knowledge of horses was tested with trivia before we explored the horse racing park and learned about treatment of diseases common in racehorses. At the War Memorial of Korea, we were greeted by the General before exploring the six indoor exhibition halls that housed a diverse array of artifacts ranging from military vessels and weaponry to sculptures and relief works.

Next on the agenda were lectures and activities. Lecture topics covered oncology, career exploration, emergency medicine and oriental medicine. I really enjoyed the oriental medicine lecture which focused on acupuncture point. Following the lecture, I got the chance to test out my acupuncture technique in a practical skills lab. After the conclusion of lectures, I participated in Temple Stay, a cultural program that allowed me to experience the life of Buddhist practitioners, mediate and have conversation over tea. We also traveled to Gyeongbokgung Palace where we witnessed the changing over of the guards, a colorful and lively ceremony. While each activity provided a unique opportunity for cultural immersion, my favorite activity was exploring Hanok Village. There, a big group of us got dressed up in traditional Korean wear, called a Hanbok, and tasted different Korean street food and purchased handmade souvenirs from the shops.

In addition to the day trips we took, there was a loaded schedule of social events in the evening so that the delegates could unwind and get to know each other better. Of these events were both a silent and live auction with items donated by attending delegates that helped raise funds for IVSA. There was also Cultural Night where delegates set up booths with food, drinks and traditional wear representing their respective countries. One of my favorite experiences was participating in a cooking event where I made Duk Boki which is a spicy Korean rice cake dish.

The 67th IVSA Symposium created an environment where a diverse range of perspectives and ideas were encouraged, exchanged, and celebrated. As the veterinary profession becomes more and more diverse, the environment created by IVSA Symposium is integral to the health and well-being of humans, animals and the environment. As I reflect upon my time in South Korea and the many international friends I have made, I feel a strong sense of gratitude. My experience abroad with IVSA in Korea is one that I will not soon forget.









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