President's Blog - April

Well I'm currently still in Thailand busily working away on my poo samples. Working in a foreign has been a fantastic experience and I have been fully immersed in Thai culture  - I'm now bowing at the right times like a natural, know the colours associated with the days of the week (it's apparently shocking that we don't have this in the UK), have ceremonially washed the hands of my Thai supervisor for New Year and have tried too many dishes and delicacies to count, albeit stopping at the offer of a fertilised chicken egg. However, it has certainly not been an easy ride. Like most of the way through vet school I have felt like I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing most of the time, and having very little comprehension of the Thai language has certainly added a layer of haze to my normal confusion! My Thai colleagues have been completely wonderful and extremely accommodating, but working alone out here for 6 weeks has made me realise just how much I rely on my university peers - classmates and housemates - to keep me chipper on a daily basis. Not wishing to take any of them for granted, thank you friends, for being so great!

In my absence my super senior and junior vices (Alex McGhee and Hannah Mason) have done the hard work of attending meetings this month. The first one being the EMS co-ordinators meeting - an annual get together for all the vet schools' EMS administrators to talk all things EMS. One of the main focus of discussions this year was on the amount of weeks required for EMS which some were keen to cut down. The last full review of EMS took place in 2009 and at that time the evidence gathered showed that the number of weeks was 'about right'. A 2014 survey by the RCVS of recent graduates on EMS also concluded the same. However, this survey is planned to be repeated in 2016 and this issue will also come up in the BVA/AVS survey early next year so current students can have their say on the matter. I'm not sure who's opinion should count the most though - students currently living through the EMS experience with no idea what they'll feel like post-graduation, or graduates with the wisdom of real life practice, but perhaps a rose-tinted perspective on happy placement days…

The hot topic at the triennial BVA council meeting was of course bovine TB and badger culling, fiercely debated among the different veterinary divisions. A debate that is seemingly never ending and sometimes difficult to follow, keep up to date with the latest on the BVA website. Talking of never ending debates, new vet schools, it's back, tentatively. I must stress that AVS's position on new vet schools and increasing vet student numbers has not changed since the release of our policy in January, which was written after extensive consultation over a couple of years. However, the latest survey is just to make sure we are accurately representing any differing opinions on a new school in Wales. We would encourage everyone to respond, especially Welsh students! 

Thank you to the AVS team for all their hard work over the past month, sending emails, writing articles, adding to the website. It all adds up to a lot of work! It's also great to see so many new initiatives being organised by students around the country such as the Bristol One Health Conference, the Women in Veterinary Leadership Conference at RVC, numerous clinical club events and numerous positive welfare events. If you are organising something and would like to invite students from all the vet schools don't hesitate to get in touch with AVS. We would love to promote your event or initiative and help it become a success.

Best wishes, Helena