Meaghan Pryde, Zurich, Switzerland; June 16-July 15, 2013

My experience at the University of Zurich  in Zurich, Switzerland, was something I will never forget. I had the opportunity to see how another country practices veterinary ophthalmology.  I was exposed to a lot of German and Swiss German consultations. I experienced and overcame the difficulty of speaking to a client in another language, as the main language is German. But for the times I didn’t understand, almost everyone spoke English and was very nice about making sure I understood. At the vet school I worked alongside two residents and the students that were the ophthalmology rotation. Because only one student was on the rotation at a time, there were more opportunities to be involved. I was allowed to scrub in on many surgeries and even assist in minor procedures. The small animal clinic was just built three years prior to my trip. It was very large and filled with the highest quality of technology. The surgery suite had automatic doors to allow for easy transport of patients.  Every room in the hospital had shades that could be brought down over the windows to allow complete darkness when needed. Even though I went to a country that is as developed as the US it was very interesting to see how another clinic operated.

I was in Zurich because of the ophthalmology opportunity but it wasn’t the only reason I went. I wanted to experience living somewhere English wasn’t the main language and that had different culture from the US. Upon arrival I met up with a local student whom I shared an apartment with for the four weeks I was there. We were located in the heart of Zurich, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to live during my experience. I walked and took the tram anywhere I needed to go; most people don’t have cars and use public transportation for traveling around. There was a huge festival this summer that only happens once every three years. It was right outside my apartment so I got to see most of the festivities going on. It was interesting to learn that most people in Zurich don’t get excited for this festival because it causes a lot of traffic and unnecessary costs. Being a tourist though I loved it! There were street vendors and live music from small and large bands all day for three days straight. It was something I will never forget! I have grown as a person because of this experience and hope that I can have more like it.