When clinical vet students are not in lectures or on rotation around the hospital, they are completing 26 weeks of extra-mural studies (EMS). This means going out and learning from vets in practice about real-life cases.
In my fourth year, I attended a talk by an Emmanuel member, Dr Adam West (1994) from the Hong Kong SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). I was especially interested in an EMS placement in Hong Kong as it is my birthplace, and I was excited to see how vet practice abroad differs from that in the UK.
During the weekdays I experienced a small neutering centre for stray dogs, a first opinion clinic, and a large hospital. I found consultations with clients tricky to follow as they were mostly in Cantonese; luckily several vets conducted them in English with a nurse translating. I stayed with my godparents, so weekends involved visiting tourist sites such as the Tian Tan Buddha, taking the ferry to Macao for a day trip, and of course eating delicious local food including dim sum!
This placement was unique as I had one dedicated mentor, who gave continuous advice. As Dr West had completed the veterinary course at Cambridge, he was able to stretch me out of my comfort zone whilst never pushing me beyond my capabilities.
I learned so much from this trip and had a fantastic time! I am incredibly grateful to Dr West and the college for making this placement possible, and I encourage Emma members and students to connect with each other for similar experiences, which can be so worthwhile.