4 Students, 6 Weeks, 8,000 Miles from Home

4 Students, 6 Weeks, 8,000 Miles from Home

In a way, our trip was three years in the making. It started in 2014, when our school, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU), and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University were paired in the OIE Twinning Veterinary Education Program. When there was a call for students to apply for the exchange program, we all submitted our CVs. Next, there were interviews, and written exams. Once the students were selected, we applied for visas through the US consulate. Finally, there was the 24-hour travel from Chittagong, Bangladesh to Massachusetts, USA.

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Md Ridoan Pasha (left) and his fellow CVASU students take in the New England scenery.

When we finally arrived at Cummings School, it was freezing! The 38°F was quite a contrast to the 100°F+ that we were use to in Bangladesh. But, the beautiful autumn leaves colored the campus, and the squirrels welcomed us.

Our first morning in America, we went to campus to join a loon necropsy with Dr. Pokras and his team of students. We were so thrilled to go to be there and meet the students and faculty that we didn’t even notice our jet lag.

We spent the first week attending classes with the 2nd year and 3rd year students.. The two-hour classes were twice as long as our classes at CVASU.  The use of all types of teaching methods, from blackboard to video, amazed us. The ‘Problem Based Learning’ method, or PBL, is one unique innovation that was recently adopted at CVASU with the help of Cummings School faculty.

The second week we shadowed clinical rotations at Foster Hospital for Small Animals, including soft tissue surgery, anesthesiology and dermatology. We observed different types of techniques like laser surgery, aseptic practice in the surgery units, laparoscopic surgery, and the use of a variety of medical equipment. Many were new to us, as they’re performed differently in Bangladesh. For instance, the anesthesia department at Foster uses gaseous anesthesia, where as the surgery in Bangladesh mostly uses injectable anesthesia. Recently, CVASU has also started an inhalation anesthesia practice in our teaching hospital. 

The Tuft@Tech rotation was a lot of fun, thanks to ‘Bhai’(Bro) Dr. Greg Wolfus. His curiosity for Bangladesh, the patient-handling techniques, and his friendly relationship with his colleagues and students made us appreciate the importance of a lively boss.

At Tufts Ambulatory Service, we visited farms. We were impressed by the “Vet-Truck”, a mobile unit full of everything a field veterinarian could need!  We got the chance to visit a farm with 1440 cows!! This is 10 times larger than the biggest farm I’ve seen in Bangladesh. Special thanks to Dr. Lindsey Philips for driving us around!

I was very impressed with Student Research Day, during which we learned about research conducted by 2nd and 3rd year students in a variety of areas. At CVASU we have a National Intern Research Conference in which interns from a variety of vet schools in Bangladesh present their research. However, I would like to see a similar Student Research Day launched at CVASU for our 2nd and 3rd year students.

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Rubyath Binte Hasan tells a story at the 7-minute story night.

The programs organized by students, like: ‘Hoe Down’,’7 Minutes story telling’, ‘IMPROV’ were really fun and we were happy to participate!

The taste buds of ‘Bengalis’ are a bit shy when it comes to American foods. Yet, we tried some. The french fries and the vegan pizzas were good. My friends liked the muffins. I tried the different types of chocolates and found them really tasty. If you asked me what I’m going to miss the most, the answer would be ‘Chocolate over Colombian Roast Coffee’ and the grapes. Those gave me some warmth on the cold November days.

At last, I would like to give thanks to all the faculty, especially Dr. Anwer and Dr. Wetmore, as well as the staff and students with whom we passed our time in and out of the hospital. Special thanks to those who came to

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The CVASU students present Dean Kochevar with gifts.

Bangladesh and helped us.

In a nutshell, our visit to Cummings School opened new horizons as far as new diseases and their diagnoses, tools, technologies and management, affection for the animals, bio-security measures, and animal welfare practice. This type of bilateral collaborations is really valuable as students learn about new things and change their attitude about the veterinary practice and profession what they can execute in Bangladesh. I hope by knowing new things, discovering new thoughts we can contribute to the field of Veterinary Medicine in Bangladesh.

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