Latest Exchanges

RVC-Budapest 2016


After much anticipation and driving around to avoid the ludicrous pricings of Luton airport pick up zone the RVC minibus took aboard the 6 Hungarian exchange delegates.

After arriving at the RVC’s Hawkshead campus the 16 of us bonded quickly over a champagne (**cava**) reception and traditional fish and chips (the brave even had a taste of mushy peas.)

The next day we headed over to the RVC’s Camden campus, and after a wander around the vibrant streets of Camden and its markets it was time to check into the RVC Global Health Society’s ‘Disaster’ symposium.


 IVSA group at a Camden Lock

Organised by the students of RVC, the symposium enlightened us on many issues facing global health with talks such as ‘the Health Economics of Antimicrobial Resistance’ and ‘Disasters and Diseases’ given by leaders in the field.

With our heads full of information, we made the short walk over to the Haxby, RVC’s student run bar, to fill our stomachs. As we had made quite good friends at this point we felt it cruel to subject our visitors to a night out at the RVC famous Zoo Bar, instead we thought it would be nice to show them a slightly classier night at Piccadilly Institute. Unfortunately there is always one, and inevitably one of the RVC students could not resist the calling of Zoo Bar.


 Don’t mention the elephant in the room: IVSA exchange in the RVC Lightwell following the symposium

Day 2 saw the group travel back into London to see which team could successfully complete the inaugural LONDON CHALLENGE. The challenge saw teams dashing across London to see as much as they could, with points on hand for landmarks and those willing to go the extra mile: kissing strangers, photobombing other tourists and reciting sonnets outside the Globe Theatre all pulled in the points. There was cheating aplenty, and with hundreds of points available to the team that could get the Queen in their photo, all three teams faked Her Majesty’s presence to get points. There is still debate over the winners, but we are confident now that all involved are now experts on travel on the tube. After a classic curry at London’s famous Brick Lane it was time to head back to Hawkshead to rest up for day 3.


 Exchangees around London

The RVC’s Queen Mother Animal Hospital may be the busiest referral hospital in Europe, but they still made time for a detailed tour for us on day 3. Then a short trip down the road we were able to embody the epitome of fashion as we strolled around Bolton’s park farm in our boiler suits visiting the dairy herd. It was then time to dress back down for the last dinner in London before a trip to the Top Secret comedy club.


The group at Bolton’s park farm


The delegates with John Fishwick , BVA vice president

Sadly, the final day came around all too quickly, and after a tour around our equine hospital and clinical skills lab we all sat down to a quintessentially English afternoon tea with cake and scones before bidding a heartfelt farewell to one another.

 However, the sadness did not last long as we knew in a mere 3 weeks we would all meet again in Budapest!



On the 12th November, the 10 RVC exchangees landed in Budapest, and we quickly headed over to Ankert, one of Budapest’s famous ruin bars, for dinner and a well needed catch up. This was followed up with a night out at Instant – a club that had more edge than a hipster in Shoreditch and better modern art than the Tate.

On day 2 we met in a market place called Szimpla before heading off to see the sights and tastes of Budapest. Lunch consisted of traditional Langos, something our hosts were worried we wouldn’t like, but deep frying bread is a genius idea that we could all enjoy. We had a fantastic day walking around the landmarks such as the Chain Bridge, the Basilica and Fisherman’s Bastion with our hosts as our tour guides. Seeing a foreign city alongside a local really changes your perspective.



A highlight of the trip was the Hungarian evening of dancing and revelry that started with homemade goulash washed down with Palinka spirit before being taught some incredibly fun traditional Hungarian dances. Everyone came away tired, but ecstatic.


On the 3rd day we had a thorough tour of their campus and small animal hospital and were in awe of the beauty and history the campus had to offer. It was interesting to hear that they claim to be older than the RVC, something the RVC prospectus fails to mention when claiming to be the 2nd oldest in the world. After a Hungarian lesson we were ready to use our new lingo on the locals as we embarked on a sightseeing tour followed by a dip in the heavily anticipated thermal baths.


On day 4 we managed to explore even more landmarks ,including the Parliament and Citadel. In the evening our remaining energy was channelled into cycling round the city fuelled by beer on one of Europe’s famous beer bikes. Our final dinner came too soon and we bid each other a final goodbye  before heading back to sunny England the following morning.


We all had the most fantastic time during the two weekends soaking in the culture, sharing ideas and making fast friends!

14Mounting the cow before graduating is said to bring bad luck and would forever curse your chances of graduating from Budapest, but it was reasoned we didn’t need to graduate from Budapest so we jumped on.


IVSA Edinburgh-Poznań Exchange 2016

After our Polish friends came to visit us in Edinburgh during March, we made it across to Poland on the 22nd of April, and were greeted by a lovely homemade dinner in the student halls. Our first full day in Poznań (a Saturday) started at the beautiful Old Market Square. We started off with a walking tour and had a fun time at the croissant museum, Rogalowe Muzeum Poznania. Here,we participated in an interactive demonstration of how the delicious Saint Martin Croissants- rogal świętomarciński- are made and had a taste. One of our members, Sara, even got a free croissant by guessing its weight correctly! We then ate an impressive spread of pierogis before having some free time. That evening we went to a pool club and enjoyed a night of drinks, pool, and dancing.


Old Market Square

Sunday morning we went to the zoo! We were all very impressed by ZOO Poznań. The amount of walking we did serves to tell how vast the zoo is. In the late afternoon we visited the Gate of Poznań, Brama Poznania ICHOT. This museum is a self-guided interactive museum teaching its visitors about the history of Poznań. That evening we had a mouth-watering barbeque at Ania’s flat, complete with pickled vegetables and kielbasa. It was an early night for us as we had to be up early in the morning for school.


ZOO Poznań

 We started the school day with a tour of the university’s small animal clinic. Their clinic is quite new and high tech and has specialized rooms, for example, for rehabilitation and for metabolism studies. We were able to do an ultrasound practical where we practiced looking at and doing ultrasounds on a lovely beagle named Luna; she seemed to find this very relaxing. We then met with the Dean of the Faculty who gave us a presentation about their vet school, highlighting the changes the vet school has gone through and what they plan to do in the future. This was followed by a fascinating lecture on cythology and learning about the technology behind it all. Lastly, we headed out of the city for a milking practical. As vet students from the UK, we expected to be greeted with dairy cows. However, we were surprised to walk into the milking parlour to find this was not for cows, it was for Friesian sheep! We all experienced for the first time how to milk sheep and had a great time doing it.


That night we had an impressive spread of potatoes and various sides, all very delicious. This was followed by a visit to a shots bar-a favorite due to its colourful shots and epic names-a pub, and karaoke. We were competing against another table of people who were only singing Polish songs, but it was an enjoyable time!

 The small animal clinic

 On our last full day in Poznań, we drove an hour out to their cattle farm. We learned about the farm and their Holstein Friesian cows before they put us to work. Along with the vet, we pregnancy tested cows and inserted CIDRs if needed. We drenched a cow and vaccinated quite a few calves. It became a relay race to vaccinate the cows as we split into 3 groups to give them 3 vaccinations. Their farm vet was very nice, showed us a lot, and joked around with us. It was a great experience and all of us are now quite comfortable with vaccinating calves. Once we were done, we headed back and had more delicious Polish food cooked by our hosts. At this point we knew we definitely needed to go to the Polish grocery store back in Edinburgh, as we would definitely be missing all the yummy food we had. We had some more free time before meeting up at our favorite shots bar and then dancing the night away at a Latin dance club.

At the cattle farm

 On Wednesday, our last day, we had an impressive brunch spread at Agnieszka’s house. Our Polish friends gifted us with some lovely souvenir mugs, to add to their great generosity throughout our trip. We can certainly learn a lot from their excellent hospitality! It was a bittersweet goodbye with such amazing hosts and we would love to go back again!


Bratwurst, beer and bovine clinics are all words that spring to mind when you think of the recent IVSA exchange between Bristol and Hanover vet schools. Our exchange was the perfect blend of education and fun that those involved will remember for many years to come.

We wanted to make sure our exchange students got to see the best of English culture, so we took them to see all the sights: St. Nicholas Market, Illusions magic bar, Bath, Cabot tower, Wills Memorial building, the Clifton suspension bridge and many more!

Our guests particularly enjoyed the magic bar, so much so that we went there twice!

Of course we couldn’t let vet students come to Bristol without showing them our fantastic zoo gardens. We were extremely fortunate that Dr Richard Saunders was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to give us a tour of the zoo and impart some of his knowledge to us.

We also made sure that they got to experience life as a Bristol vet student, complete with dissections, case based learning and a visit to Wyndhurst dairy farm at our Langford campus. They even got the opportunity on our tour of the hospital facilities to see our cat friendly clinic.

After a week in March bursting with UK cuisine like English breakfasts, cream tea, traditional Bristolian pies we rounded off our week by visiting the Canteen, a lovely restaurant that served sustainable, locally sourced food.

The next day we said a tearful goodbye to new friends, but thankfully not for long as in June we were boarding our flight to Hanover!

Hanover students at the Langford campus

Hanover students at the Langford campus

We were lucky to arrive during ‘Bergfest’; a university organised celebration (with free beer!) for students who have reached the halfway point in their course. Although we were sadly only there for 5 days, we thankfully got to experience every night of this 3 day festival, and still got to experience German nightlife on our final night.

Hanover is not only a beautiful city, but has its own quirky character, with everything from the New Townhall’s curving lift to singing manholes.

Of course this was an educational experience too. We had a very early start before meeting the director of the vet school, and were then given a tour of the Universities facilities. This included the bovine and equine clinics and a tour of the farm campus where the students complete their placements.

Sightseeing in Hanover

Sightseeing in Hanover

At the end of our trip it was sad to say goodbye, but at least we got to make the most of our time in Hanover.

From a stereotypical English week in Bristol to a very sunny week in lovely Hanover; we learned a lot, did a lot of sightseeing and made great friends to last a lifetime!


This year we held our exchange with The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, Croatia. There were 18 Croats and 15 IVSA Liverpool students participating in the exchange, and we paired people up based on a small paragraph we sent in about ourselves prior to the exchange. I think that this worked well for us as we were able to pair people up based on similar interests and everyone got on really well.


The Croats visited us for 5 days (25th-29th Feb) and we organised lots of activities during their time with us to make up for the slightly shorter than usual exchange length. We contacted a pet food company for sponsorship and received £1500 which enabled us to plan many exciting activities without having to worry about costs – paintballing and trampolining to name a few!


We then visited our Croats for 5 days in Croatia (5th-9th July) just after our summer exams had finished – what an excellent end to the year! They planned lots of fun things for us to do including a day trip to Opitaja beach and an afternoon finding our way out of EscapeRoom. We all had an amazing time and hope our hosts enjoyed their time with us as much as we did with them!


The University of Nottingham exchange 2016

This year IVSA Nottingham had a fantastic exchange with IVSA Wroclaw, Poland. We had the pleasure of hosting 10 Wroclaw students in February where we made sure they saw all the best parts of Nottingham, and of course, our vet school!


10 Nottingham students then travelled to Wroclaw in May to experience life as a vet student there. We were hosted by some lovely vet students who took the time to make us feel welcome and show us their city. Over 5 days we went to the zoo, saw the beautiful main square, watched horse races, had lectures at their vet school, ate lots of traditional food, got an impressive 360 view of the city from the sky tower, plus many more activities.


During the time at their vet school, as well as learning a great deal from lectures in the specialist reproduction department, we were able to carry out ultrasound examinations on pregnant bitches, take vaginal cytology samples and practice placing the instruments for AI in a bitch. This enabled the students to enhance their practical skills and extend their knowledge. We will continue to stay in contact with one another as it has been a great experience that we will not be forgetting any time soon.

Bristol – Naples Exchange 2015

On the 21st September myself, and four other Bristol delegates arrived in Naples to begin the second part of our group exchange. We had all arrived separately and were picked up with military precision before heading back to our host’s houses to drop off bags and set up camp for the rest of the week. A brief rest and refresh were permitted but we were soon back on the road to Naples for a good old Italian reunion with the guests we had said goodbye to in Bristol 5 months earlier. After a long overdue catchup, a welcome shot in the colours of the Italian flag and some Italian street food to satisfy the hunger pangs (the last time we were to experience any such feeling for the remaining holiday) we called it a night and crawled to bed with the warm glowy feeling in our stomachs that only comes from reuniting with old friends and good mozzarella – this was definitely going to be a cracker of a trip.

The next day we woke up pretty early and headed into Naples for our first glimpse of the city in daylight. Our hosts had arranged for us to have a lecture on Brucellosis, which was a long term problem within the region. This was followed by a brief tour of the central veterinary department before heading out to explore the city. Naples was transformed from the previous evening with shops popping out from every hidden corner and magnificent churches erupting from the ground at pretty much every corner.