The 67th IVSA Congress in Krakow, Poland. Report by Sharon Gunardi as Best Delegate

67th IVSA Congress in Kraków

Written by :
Sharon Gunardi
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Bogor Agricultural University

IVSA Congress is an annual international event where all member organizations of IVSA from around the world gather in one place to choose the next executive committees, chair of standing committees and working groups, secretariats and trusts of IVSA global through the General Assembly (GA), the main governing body of IVSA. Other than election of the IVSA Officials for every term, the GA also determines the policies which govern the activities of IVSA as stated in the IVSA Constitution and Bylaws. IVSA Congress also act as an effective media to gather veterinary medicine students from all over the world to share information about internship, exchange and postgraduates program in their countries. Equipped with lectures and workshops, IVSA Congress also will give many new knowledges and skills about veterinary medicine globally.
The 67th IVSA Congress was held in University of Agriculture in Krakow and Hotel Belvedere in Zakopane, Poland. It was held on 16th-27th July 2018 with the theme of “Be a Supervet! New Approach to Veterinary Medicine” to encourage us to be a supervet with plenty knowledges and skills not only in veterinary medicine field but also in organizational way, as we learnt how IVSA global works in this congress and gain more connection worldwide. The Organizing Committee (OC) of this event consisted of 11 really strong and amazing girls from IVSA Kraków that successfully wrap up the event really well. This year congress had gather 221 participants from 33 countries, and we were very excited to participate in GAs, learn from the lectures and workshop, making new friends and connections, and also having fun!
This congress was my first IVSA Global activities and that’s why I was quite nervous and scared at first. But after going through the event day by day, I felt so glad that I applied for this program and I regret nothing at all . Big thanks to my other delegates from Indonesia which are Cahyani Fortunitawanli from Bogor Agricultural University, Vania Ayu Prastika from Airlangga University, Luthfi Sinantaris and Andre Firmansyah from Gadjah Mada University, and many other new friends I met in the congress for sharing this amazing experiences together with me. I hope that I can maintain all the connections and friendships that I had made and meet them again someday in the future!
Day 1 – Arrival Day!
I travel alone to Kraków using plane on July 15th , I transitted in Singapore and Germany and I finally arrived in Kraków on July 16th. After I went out from the baggage claim area, I was greeted warmly by the OC team and given a bus and tram ticket in Krakow that applied for 2 weeks. Here I met Eve ! My very first friend from this event. She is a treasurer from IVSA Thailand and we went together to the University of Agriculture dormitory using bus. There in the dorm I met others Indonesian delegates and we had to do registration and then they gave a key to our room. My roommate was Aninca Jordan, a kind and amazing girl from South Africa. At night, I went with other participants to a dinner place and gain some new friends. But because we were tired, me and other delegates from Indonesia went back first to the dorm to sleep early.

Day 2 – Opening Ceremony, Rainy Mission, and Cultural Evening !
I woke up on the second day hearing the OC knocking hard at my door. The OC teams did that everyday to make sure that all participants woke up and be there for the events. I really appreciate their efforts to make sure that all events would go on time. I had my breakfast at Arka Cafetaria near the dorm and then went to the main hall where the opening ceremony was held. The Dean of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in University of Agriculture gave out his speech to welcome us and hope that we would have a good time in Kraków, which of course I did .
After the opening ceremony ended, we went outside to do some mission around the tourism spot in Krakow. We were divided into groups and given an envelope with many questions and pictures. To completed the mission, we had to answer all the questions and move to other designed places on time. It should be such a fun games but unfortunately, it rained that day so we couldn’t look around for answers and the games got cancelled. But I had the chance to visit Kazimiers, the center of Jewish life in Kraków for over 500 years ago, which was destroyed during World War II and after the war had ended, only 10 percent of Jews in Kraków survived and they revived their cultural identity again in Kazimiers. Later I visited The Wawel Castle, which was the place where kings of Poland lived when Kraków was still the capital of Poland. I’m really amazed by the Europe architectural styles in this castle and they even had a legend about dragon residing in this castle.

In the afternoon, we, Indonesian delegates participated in International Stands where we explained about IVSA in Indonesia, our events and internship possibility. Many of other countries delegates were amazed knowing that we had 11 universities with Veterinary Medicine in Indonesia and the other IVSA delegates from Asia were interested in having an internship in Indonesia, especially knowing that we had rich biodiversity of wildlife. I also looked around other country stands and I gained more knowledge about IVSA exchange and internship opportunities in other countries. The one that piqued my interest is the externships in IVSA UK and Ireland, they explained us in detailed how to apply for externships in many famous university there like The Royal Veterinary College, University of Bristol, and many more. If you are also interested, you can email them through and ask for more informations. One thing that surprised me is, in Taiwan, they already have CT Scan and MRI for animals too ! And they tought the students how to use them, it was such a definite realization for me that we are indeed still behind even compared to other Asia countries and we need to catch up with them by continuously studying and improving ourselves.

In the night, we had cultural evening and in Indonesia’s stand we served traditional snacks and drinks from Indonesia while wearing our traditional clothes, batik and kebaya. We also explained about the food and the drink we served, they especially loved cassava chips and wedang jahe. We also circled around trying all the food other countries offered, dancing, singing and laughing together with everyone. Here we also talked with one of the co-founder of IVSA Poland and take a picture with him.

Day 3 – First Lecture and GA!
The third day surely was a busy day where I gained so much new knowledges and I’m here to share with you some of interesting things I took notes of! We began our activity with breakfast in ArKa and then we had series of lectures from 67th IVSA Congress sponsors. The first one was from Royal Canin, they talked about the effect of nonallergenic diets on cats and explained about their research on cats suffering from dermatitis treated by nonallergenic or highly hydrolised protein diet. The nonallergenic diets would contain small molecular weiht of amino acids which would decrease the risk of alergy. They also taught us about Feline Allergic Dermatitis Scale (SCORFAD) and Itch Scale or Visual Analog Scale (VAS) which both used to determine the dermatitis severity of cats. After almost 100 days, there were major improvement of SCORFAD and VAS scale in most of the cats. After the clinical signs had disappeared the client could continue using the nonallergenic diets or using hypoallergenic diets.
The next lecture is from Ecolab, they talked about hygiene on the dairy farm in the context of the production economy. Ecolab introduced us to many of their products needed for veterinary practices especially in dairy farm such as disinfectants and antiseptics for teats. Next was lecture from Biowet Pulawy, pharmaceutical company which produced veterinary drugs and animal feed additives. They gave us information about drugs used for veterinary surgery which were quite the same with drugs I used in my practical lessons in Bogor Agriculture University.
In the afternoon we had our first General Assembly where the Executive Committee explained to us the Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised for the GA and we had our first Roll Calls! After the First GA, we had another lecture about Forensic Veterinary Medicine which was very cool. In Poland, they have veterinarian court expert to give opinion to the court regarding the regulation and security of animals. The court expert has to do post mortem examination and decide the time of death of animals and support the court with facts needed.
In the evening , together with other Indonesia delegates and Natasha, delegates from UK, we went sightseeing at the city center and bought some souvenirs in the main square (Rynek Glowny), which is the largest city square in Europe. In this main square we can see the Town Hall Tower, St. Mary’s Basilica, and Adam Mickiewicz Monument. When we wanted to go back to the dormitory, we got lost around 2 hours circling around the main square searching for the bus stop. When we found the bus stop, it was already late so we walked back to our dorm for about half an hour. The good thing is we got to enjoy the beautiful night scenery on Krakow!

Day 4 – Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
On the fourth day, we went to Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau using bus and it took around 2 hours to get there. The security in this place was really tight, we were only allowed to bring a small bags and had to left other things in the bus. To got in, we had to wait in line to do security check and then we were given receivers and headphones to listen to the tour guide. Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau is the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp. This museum consisted of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II-Birkenau, and Auschwitz III-Monowitz. In this tour we got to visit the first which is the original concentration camp and the second one which is combination between concentration and extermination camp. At least 1.3 million people from all over Europe were sent to this camp, then, elders, pregnant women, children and disabled were separated from women and men who could work. They were judged by the Nazy as a burden and were sent away to the cyanide gas chamber and were killed massly. At least 1.1 million people died and 90% of them were Jewish. In this museum we could see the hair, eyeglasses, clothes, shoes, suitcases of the victims which were countless. We could also see the rooms of prisoner, forced labours, and execution places. Visiting this museum was really a different experiences for me. Before, I only know the history of World War II through Indonesia’s point of view and now, I got to understand what really happened during World War II and I could also feel the horror it caused for the civilianz.

In the afternoon, we had our second GA. In the evening we went to Manor House of University of Agriculture to have BBQ Party. In the BBQ Party we could play many games, I tried doing sword fighting and throwing spear around, the OC even prepared some archery game there. We also can play some group game where we threw blocks to the center aiming for other group’s blocks. The BBQ Party was really fun and I had a good laugh together with everyone.

Day 5 – Workshop and Lecture Day !
In this congress, we can chose our stream from these options : production animals (bovine and swine), horses, companion animals, exotic animals and bees, and I chose companion animals which match with my interest. Then I had lecture about “How to interpret blood results in an organized manner – clinical cases” given by Maciej Guzera, DVM, PhD, DipECVCP, MRCVS from Laboklin. In this lectures we were guided step by step in study cases to decide what action should we take in certain cases. We were given information about anamnese, clinical signs, biochemistry and hematology test result of the client. From them, we had to define the final diagnosis and then choose the next action we should take. The lecturer was really cool because he really explained to us the possible diagnosis and eliminate them one by one according to the laboratory results. In this lecture also I heard some clinical test names for the first time and it makes me want to learn more about the clinical practices.
After the lecture, I went to the stream workshop. For the companion animal stream, the OC provided reproduction/diagnostic imaging, abdominal ultrasonography, basic surgery, and echocardiography workshops. From them, I chose echocardiography because I had never tried to do echocardiography and read the results by myself. Before the workshop began, I attended stream lecture given by Katarzyna Kraszewska, DVM who specialized in cardiopulmonary. She gave introduction about basic echocardiography and taught us about cardiomiopathy and treatment we should take. I could understand the lecture at first, because I’ve studied about it in my last semester, but as we went on it got more complicated that I begun to just took notes and hoped this note would be useful in the future. Finally, workshop time! I got to tried doing echocardiography in dogs. Through the process I was guided by a profesional veterinarian from Vetiss and they show me the right angle for my hand to got the best views. We had to be able to tell which parts of the heart we was looking an how the flow in the heart worked using the Doppler. The workshops really gave me new useful skills !

In the evening, we, Indonesia’s delegates gathered and played games, we also talked about Andre who wanted to nominate as Public Relation Coordinator (PRC) and Nita who wanted to nominate as Secretary of PRC

Day 6 – Cycling Day!
We began the morning with another General Assembly, and then we have activities of choice and I was so exited! We can chose to visit tourism spots, canoeing, trampoline park or cycling, and I chose cycling. The cycling group went together using tram and bus to the main square and we rented bikes there. Then we started cycling for about 4 hours with some stops to drank water, took photos and ate ice cream ! This experience was a good memory for me because I pushed myself to my own limit while seeng the great sceneries unfold around me together with my new friends from the congress. Then we all got back but we were late for lunch, so I ate my lunch, take a shower and skip the wellness lecture. But I attended the wellness workshops where you can choose from music, kickboxing and coloring and I chose to do coloring which was really fun. Later we had our GA again and then we ended the night by going to some dining place in the main square.

Day 7 – Zakopane ~
The seventh day was the day we went to Zakopane. Zakopane is a town on the south of Poland, near the Tatra Mountains which has a national park called Tatra National Park. Zakopane is a favourite spot for people who want to go hiking, snowboarding, or skiing. We went there using bus and we arrived to our hotel, Hotel Belvedere quiet early because there wasn’t any traffic during our journey. So we walked to the city center to look around, took some photos and bought an chocolate orange gelato ice cream, which was very yummy !

Then we had our GA again where we sang our national anthem in the rollcalls. Singing Indonesia’s national anthem gave me some chills. Later at night we had our dinner which was really delicious, especially the dessert. I found my favorite dessert there, they served a cake with pudding on the upper side with berries inside, and it was really delicious I could ate 5 of them non stop. Then we had silent and live auction held by Development Aid Director (DAD) , the money then will be collected and donated to the member organization who need IVSA support. I didn’t buy anything, but it was interesting watching people wrote their price for things they wanted in the silent auction while jokingly telling others to back off. And the live auction was even more lively and we had a good laugh.

Day 8 –Medium Hiking!
On this day we were divided into 3 levels of group to hike the Tatra National Park which were easy, medium, and difficult. And I chose the medium hiking trail. Tatra National Park is a national park in Poland which also adjoining with Slovakia. In the past Tatra Mountains were exploited by human for mines and ironworks to harvest the local timber. Now, this national park contains endemic, endangered and protected species of fauna like Tatra chamois, marmot, brown bear, lynx, gray wolf, otter, eagle , and falcon. During the journey, we could see the various species of flora. Going up the mountain was quite tiring for me, but when I arrived at the peak, the scenery was really gorgeous that I forgot about my aching legs. Then we went down and visited the waterfall but it was so crowded with school trip childrens. The funny thing was the children kept looking at me and my Asian friends, maybe because they never seen one before. Then we went back to the hotel. One of the easy level group told me they saw a brown bear from afar and said that it was so cute hiding behind the leaves. My tourguide also said that it was common for tourists to see brown bears there and they were not dangerous. But you are not allowed to give them food because then they will come after you. Then we went back to the University of Agriculture in Kraków using bus again.

At night I went to yoga class held by the OC teams. Although during the class my hands and legs kept quivering when I did poses, but I felt so relieved at the end of the class that I decided that I want to do more yoga in the future.

Day 9 – Lecture, GA, OIE Ambassadors!
Another packed day on the ninth day. We had another lecture about intestinal microbiome (the forgotten organ an its role in health and disease) given by Jan S. Suchodolski, MedVet, DrVetMed, PhD, AGAF, DACVM. We were explained about intestinal microbiota in intestinal which was also an organ actively taken part in metabolism, affecting structural and physiology of the intestine. Intestinal problems are commonly caused by dysbiosis or microbiota imbalance inside the gastrointestinal tract where the amount of normal microbiota or the beneficial ones aiding for digestion are less than normal, where as the pathogenic microbiota growing. This can be seen by comparing intestinal microbiomes in a healthy dog and dog with acute diarrhea. Usually, as the treatment, the dog will be given antibiotic which hopefuly will eliminate the pathogenic microbiota in intestinal, or using dietary action and steroid. In this lecture, we were introduced to a technique called Fecal Microbiota Transplatation (FMT), where we administrate the fecal matter solution from normal and healthy donor to the intestinal tract of recipient in order to directly repair the microbiota composition of recipient. This technique is still uncommon even in human medicine but study shows that this treatment has a high successfull rate.
Then we had another lecture about Wellness at UNAM Neudamm Campus as an example for complete Mind-Body Balance development given by Maria Yvonne Hemberger, DVM, PhD. She was a lecturer from University of Namibia, and first she introduced us to Namibia, and it’s culture. Later she told us about wellness activity in her campus and how it was really important for us to balance our routine and hectic studying with wellness activity to relieve our stress. And that makes me remember that Miss Maria were also in Yoga Class the night before, and she was really good at it.
Next agenda, we had GA 7 and 8, where Andre and Nita delivered their speech. Then we had ExCo workshops and I chose the OIE Ambassadors workshops. OIE have this program called OIE Junior Ambassador Project where we as OIE Ambassador will raise the society awareness about Rinderpest and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and in this workshop I chose the AMR topic. The AMR Awareness Week will be on 12th-18th November 2018, and together with other country delegates, we discussed about what can each of us do during the week in our university. We were also given tools to use during the week such as magazines, flyers and posters. If you are interested in being IVSA OIE Ambassadors, you can search them on Facebook and get all the information there. The application will be opened at September 1st to all IVSA members of active member organizations, which of course includes Indonesia.
Day 10 – Exploration Day!
The OC woke us up for breakfast earlier than usual, because we were going to visit Wieliczka Salt Mine, which was a world class monument, featuring on the UNESCO’s World Cultrual and Natural Heritage List. This salt mine was one of the world’s oldest salt mines opened in the 13th century but commercial mining discontinued in 1996. Different than what I had in mind about salt mine, which I thought was near the sea, The Wieliczka salt mine is 327 meters underground. They consist of many rock salts in variouss grey colors, not white which I expect. When we entered the mine, we went down many stairs which I had lost count when we arrived at the mine. As we walked we could see the mining system and tools used by the salt miners, statues and corridors made from salt, underground lake and chapels all made from salt. This mine is often reffered to as the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland. In the biggest chapel which is St Kinga’s Chapel, we could also see salt crystal chandelier hanging and Leonardo’s The Last Super carved into rock-salt wall.

After the salt mine tour had ended, we went back to the University Campus and had our ninth GA. At night we went to Folwark Zalesie to had our Official Dinner. The official dinner was amazing, the place, the food, all the dresses and suits, the laughter, dancing and chatting and of course all the IVSA people, were all amazing. It was such a memorable night where we took many photos. In this dinner also, Andre and Nita was formally anounced to be the PRC and Secretariat for IVSA Global, we were really proud of them.

Day 11 – Last Day of Congress
Our last day in Congress began with a lecture from Laura D. Urdes, DVM, PhD, CertAqV from World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA). She delivered a lecture about A New Approach to Veterinary Medicine, wich is Aquatic Veterinary Medicine. The need to feed all people in the world makes aquaculture field developed more and more in this past years. That’s why aquatic veterinarian are needed to enhance aquatic animal health, welfare, public health, and seafood safety. It is important to have veterinarian specialized in aquatic and WAVMA provide a program called CertAqV Program where they assit veterinarians to be competent in aquatic veterinary medicine core competency to practice aquatic veterinary medicine.
After the lecture we had our tenth and eleventh GA which are the last GAs. Yeay! Then me, Vania, and Luthfi went to the city center to had fun walking around, bought souvenirs, and took many photos. At night we went to the white T-shirts party where we wrote in each other white T-shirt about our impression about that person. At the end of the party, my T-shirt of full of people writings and I made promises with my friends to always keep in touch and to meet again in other IVSA event or someday in the future.

Day 12 – Good Bye Friends!
The congress had ended but my flight was on the day after at 10 am. I spent the morning in the mall with Nita and Vania. And at 4 pm, I went together with Vania, Luthfi, and Andre to the airport because they flight was on 11 pm that night. I decided to spent the night in the airport and luckily, there was a kind girl from China who accompany me as we talked through the night, thank you Nemo! My flight finally arrived. My journey in foreign country had not ended yet and I was so excited to go to another journey. But somehow I also felt kind of sad because I had to leave Kraków, the first Europe country I’ve ever visited where I made beautiful memories with all the IVSA people, where I gained many new precious friends and colleagues and where I gain so much new knowledge. It was really amazing experiences becoming one of delegates of Indonesia and I’m proud to have represented IVSA Indonesia in The 67th IVSA.

GA Sessions
At the first GA we explained about how the GA works and each country were given a manual book about GA, then we had approval of the Minutes from the 66th IVSA Symposium in South Africa, then the nominations for Executive Committee, Secretariat, Trust, Chairs of Committees and Working Groups 2018-2019, host for 68th IVSA Symposium, and 69th IVSA Congress were opened. After that we had presentations on IVSA Activities fromthe previous Exco. We also had the seventh Excellence Award announcement, this excellence award is awarded by Exco twice a year to an IVSA member that has excelled within their position in the IVSA And the winning nominee this time was Miran Abdul Omer from IVSA Iraq Sulaymaniyah.
After that we listen to the presentation of the updated committee and working group chair manuals, report on Exco meetings, and the announcement of the top ten Member Organizations, the top MO award was won by IVSA Taiwan. Another announcement of Top Group Exchange which was won by IVSA Belgium and Switzerland. The GA also approved six new Local MOs.
The second and third GA began with nominations again and Andre Firmansyah from IVSA Indonesia was nominated by Pieter de Villiers (IVSA South Africa) for Public Relations Coordinator. Next agenda we had Bylaw Amendments of Central Fund Tax, Reimbursement of Travel for Chairs, Presentation about trainers Netowrk and the forming of the new Strategic Planning Committee 2019-2024. We also had a presentation of attended events such as IFMSA pre World Health Assembly, WHO and WHA in Geneva, EAEVE GA, FECAVA Euro Congress, IFISO,and the BSAVA Congress 2018, WVA, FAO Europe and Central Asia Regional Conference. Next we had presentation of the 68th IVSA Congress in Croatia and voting on the maximum fee of the congress which was set to 370 EUR.

The fourth GA was when Cahyani Fortunitawanli from IVSA Indonesia was nominated by Daniel Lunt from IVSA Denmark for Secretariat position. Then we move forward to Bylaw Amandment Agenda. On the fifth GA, the nominations were closed, and we had presentation of IVSA financial statement by IVSA Treasurer, approval of MOU with Vet Books for Africa and IAAS. On the 6th GA, we watched the presentation of all the board members nominees and host for 68th IVSA Symposium which is Morocco. On the 7th GA we have a presentation from WSAVA and election agenda of the Board Members. On the 8th GA, we had the presentation on the 67th IVSA Symposium in South Korea, with the fee is set at 335 EUR including Central Fund Tax.

These are the result of nomination and election process of IVSA Global Officials : Magdalena Jannash as President-elect, Jaclyn St Croix as Secretary General, Daniel Lund as Treasurer, Tavishi Pandya as Member Organizations Director (MOD), Charlotte Glouid as Development Aid Director (DAD), Pieter de Villiers as External Relations Officer (ERO), Andre Firmansyah as Public Relations Coordinator (PRC), Maryem Ben Salem as Committee Coordinator, Emma van Rooijen , Hyunji Jung as Chair of SCOH, Georgios Kotsadam as Chair of ScoVE, Megan Rawlins as Chair of SCAW, Elwin van Oldenborgh as Chair of SCoW, Nina Schimdt as Chair of Working Group of Alumni, Lucian Todirica, Jordon Egan, Denise van Eekelen, Lara Scherer , and Aqil Jeenah as Trusts, and Thomas Bonnafe, Sietske Ruijgh, Aninca Jordaan, Charlotte Rendina, Kyeonghyeon Jeong, Ania Ciekiewicz, Cahyani Fortunitawanli, Prince Andrew Debrah as Secretariats.
Benefits of attending this congress
1. Better understanding about IVSA systems and how it works
2. Gain new knowledges about veterinary medicines that motivates me to always be curious and do my studies right
3. Open up exchange and internships opportunities, makes me consider having a postgraduate in foreign countries
4. Learning about cultural differences and cope up with that
5. Made new friends from various countries
To sum it up, I was really glad and thankful I could attend this congress which is a one of a kind experiences, I was really having fun and I create many wonderful memories there. Thank you 67th IVSA Congress !

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