68th IVSA Symposium in Morocco. Report by Averyl Moey as Best Delegate


Created by: Averyl Moey

University : University Gadjah Mada 

Universitas Gadjah Mada The 68th IVSA Symposium is an annual event held by the International Veterinary Students’ Association, gathering veterinary students from all over the world in conjunction with the purpose to exchange knowledge, opinions, and comments regarding the future of the field of veterinary medicine. Not forgetting the fact that we get to build connections and open to opportunities. For this symposium, there are sessions IVSA General Assembly, lectures, workshops, vaccination day, streams, international stands, cultural evening, and such arranged in the schedule.

 The theme was “Going Global” held in Rabat, Morocco from 18th January 2020 to 27th January 2020, at the Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan-II (IAV). The Organizing Committees are Mehdi Amrani (President of IVSA Morocco), Majd Hannaoui (Treasurer), Ayoub Chfar (Transportation), Yasmine Fadili (Accommodation ), Siham Mesoudi(Programme). The participants for this event originate from about 50 different countries including delegates from Nepal, Ghana, Cyprus, Estonia, and Tunisia. Delegates representing IVSA Indonesia (IMAKAHI) are Cahyani Fortunitawanli (IPB University), Eriya Mariam (IPB University), Maria Angelica (Gadjah Mada University), and Averyl Moey(Gadjah Mada University)


Day 1 (18/1/20) : Arrival + Welcome dinner

It was exciting as this is my first IVSA event in such an exotic country that I’ve never thought I’ll get to visit. Upon arriving luckily, I met some delegates on the same flight and we got acquainted. I was half thrilled half nervous as I didn’t know how it was going to be, but the organizing committee was very hospitable and helped us settle in from registration to checking in our accommodation. The weather was nice and warm and the institute was huge and beautiful, the committee gave us a little tour around their gorgeous campus. As we proceed for welcome dinner, the weather dropped and it was colder than we expected. Apparently, the temperature change in Morocco can really be drastic this time of year, from a hot summer day to a freezing night. However, the delicious traditional cuisine of Morocco was just spectacular, not to mention the warm Moroccan tea. What a way to end the day with a good meal, then we set off to our respective hotels to get our good night’s rest.


Day 2 (19/1/20) : Opening Ceremony + First General Assembly + International Stands + Piano

Concert The opening ceremony started with a speech from the Director of IAV, followed by President of IVSA Global, Elwin Van Oldenborgh then the president of IVSA Morocco, Mehdi Amrani. The first general assembly started with the edit of some bylaws and introducing new collaborations. Then in the evening, we had international stands where we promote our member organizations’ events. Through this International Stands, I was intrigued by how many opportunities there are out there for exchanges and other internship programs where we can expand our horizons as veterinary medicine students. We ended our night with a classical piano concert by one of the students of IAV, Mahmoud El Moussaoui.

Day 3 (20/1/20) : City Tour + Cultural Evening

We began the day with sightseeing around the city. Just by walking down the streets, I was already captivated by the beautiful mosaic fountains and unique architectures that contribute to the incomparable beauty of Morocco. We walked around the local market and visited the Medina fortress that was built during the colonization era to defend the city from invading countries. The location of the fortress by the ocean is just breathtakingly gorgeous. The weather was lovely that day, chilly with the warmth of the sun. We stopped for local Moroccan tea and snacks before we headed back to the campus to continue our GA session. Cultural evening was truly unforgettable. We all put on our cultural outfit and got to have a taste of food and other cultural art such as ‘Henna’ from delegates of their respective country. They even showcased their cultural dance. Everyone was having such a fun time and I would say that was the time where everyone was starting to get to know each other and the beginning of beautiful friendships. We danced the night away until the cold didn’t bother us.


Day 4 (21/1/20) : Lectures + Workshops

This day was a day full of learning; we had the privilege of listening to the knowledgeable lecturers of IAV regarding wildlife and conservation, by Dr Brahim Haddane along with Dr Hicham Masski. It was eye-opening to know about the wildlife condition of Morocco, seeing it from a different perspective, and understanding the types of measures taken in consideration of the species of wildlife and the habitat of Morocco. We also had lecturers about One Health Photo Courtesy of IAV in the field of Human Medicine by Dr Ahmed Rguig and Pr. Mohammed Akrim. From the discussion of the lecturers, I was amused by the genuine concern of the delegates as veterinary medicine students regarding the importance of collaborating with the field of human medicine for the overall wellbeing of the public, it was truly inspiring. The workshops I signed up for were about antibiotics resistance. The discussion was really productive; we came up with ideas of how we as students have the power to shape the future in our campus, on social level as well as politics. We had another GA in between.

Day 5 (22/1/20) : Streams + Silent Auction

The committee provided us with 4 streams to choose from: small animals, equine, beekeeping, and bovine. Since I’m planning to go into the field of small animal in the future, it’s not rocket science on which I chose. We had the privilege to visit the biggest veterinary hospital in Rabat, which is about one hour and a half bus ride from the campus. The hospital is huge with 3 stories, 1 basement for large animals such as equine and bovine, and nicely equipped from radiology to isolation room. We returned forour 4th GA then the day ended well with the silent auction, it was really entertaining seeing how high people will bid for just 1 sweater, a planner calendar, or even just a pen.


Day 6 (23/1/20) : Optional Tour + Live Auction

We were given 3 lovely attractions to choose; the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern Art, Mausoleum of Mohammed V or the Hassan-II Mosque in Casablanca. Knowing that this might be my only visit to Morocco, I opted for the Hassan-II mosque. Travelling to the city of Casablanca from Rabat is about one and a half hour, and it was worth it! Being the largest mosque in Morocco, this mosque certainly lives up to its name. I wascaptivated by the details of the interior design and the craftsmanship; it took 6 years to complete. This mosque is located right by the sea, the beauty mesmerized me, even the word ‘gorgeous’ is an understatement to such majestic infrastructure.

After the visit, we headed back to continue with our GA session.Finally, the night of nights! The one everyone’s been waiting for! Everyone was dressed to the nines, we were pampered with delicious Moroccan meal. It was really nice to see everyone well acquainted by now, we were all having fun but we also couldn’t deny the bit of melancholicfeeling as this event was drawing to an end.

Thanks to the hippocampus of our brain, we get to hold on to these memories and cherish them, oh and also smartphone cameras! That night, the live auction was an event filled with laughter; the delegates were creative in putting up items to bid for charity purposes, including Europe trips or even record-breaking ski jumping plates. It’s fun to see everyone bid with each other and how competitive (in a good way) they could be for something. I believe everyone was having a really good time andgreat laughs that night despite how tiring it has been since the beginning of this symposium!

Day 7 (24/1/20) : Vaccination Day

One of the objectives for this symposium was about Rabies awareness, so the ‘Vaccination Day’ program is held to administer free Rabies injections for dogs at the outskirts of the city. Unfortunately, I did not participate as I wasn’t vaccinated. As there was another EO meeting in which I wasn’t involved, I spent the day walking around the city of Rabat with the other delegates on our own and did some sightseeing, and of course: souvenir shopping.


Day 8 (25/1/20) : Lectures + Formal Dinner 

The last lecture sessions started off by talking about climate change and public health by Dr Brahim Haddane and Pr. Maria Bourquia. After that, wildlife and zoonosis by Dr Mounir Khayu, then beekeeping with Pr. Saad Aboulfaraj. It was very inspiring to see a young female professor standing up there, then learning about beekeeping industry, which is something we do not pay much attention to. I certainly learnt a lot from the sessions of lectures, it was indeed knowledge that we all know but never really magnified on, it was fruitful.


Day 9 (26/1/20) : Last GA + White T-shirt Party + Departures

We all made it to the final GA session and have our new president elected! Everyone gathered for dinner before we started writing on people! On the white T-shirt of course! It’s nice to see everyone so close with each other now in comparison to the first day where we were all awkward and shy. It was a perfect closure for this event, knowing you’ll definitely miss the place, people, and the food! I really love the idea of this White T-shirt party because this shirt is something you own, no one will have the same shirt, and this shirt is something you can reminisce on. With that, some of us move on for post-symposium while some head back to our separate lives with good memories and hearts full of joy and gratitude! The biggest benefit is definitely networking! Veterinary medicine is one of the fields that is constantly evolving and we as future doctors have to be always on top of the game to deal with all sorts of public related issues such as zoonosis. By building relationships through this kind of event at an international level, definitely contributes a lot as we will be able to know theissues faced by different places and learn sorts of different approach of dealing with a situation or a condition, not to mention opening ourselves to more options and prospect to improve ourstandards. Secondary to that is definitely a travelling buddy! As a person who LOVES goingplaces, having friends from different countries gives you the reason to travel and visit thecountry in its true essence, which is from the perspective of a local! I had the pleasure of conversing with one of the committees, I realized that the Moroccan veterinary course takes 6 years to complete! Unlike ours of 5 years. The other thing that was interesting to me is that for their anatomy lab sessions, they are each individually required to being a live animal to the lab for educational purposes. How cool is that! Some of them just bring a live camel! Coming from Southeast Asia, seeing a camel is something we will go “WOW” for, and here they are, having camel as common livestock and learning their anatomy!

Whereas here we mainly learn the anatomy of small animals, ruminants, and equines.I don’t think I’ll ever forget the cultural evening. Everyone was sharing their local cuisine and also cool cultural dance along with their traditional costume, all having a fantastic time. For one final song to end the night, the DJ played “All of Me” by John Legend, and everyone just started joining into a big circle, swaying to the music. It was a beautiful and heartwarming sight, seeing everyone come together regardless of their backgrounds. This was definitely a memory that is deeply imprinted on my heart. The other was during the night of live auction. One of the delegates from Taiwan raised so much from her auction items of Taiwan by her hilarious explanation and translation from Mandarin to English. She even auctioned off ‘flirting lessons’. My, my! All the  cheesy lines she used, I have to say, were pretty smooth! Haha ! Needless to say, everyone was really entertained. In my humble opinion, attending the IVSA Symposium was more than just about meeting people from all over the world, it is also a good time to educate ourselves, see the difference in practice of different regions of the world. As IVSA is a global organization, its opportunities are vast! This is something that has inspired me to be more involved in IVSA global, hopefully in the near future. There are so many scholarships, internships, and events that can certainly be a stepping stone to learn more about the veterinary industry at an international level, I would say, it’s boundless. Being a global organization, we as student share given a platform to have a say, hence one way or another, we are shaping the future of veterinary education through sessions of GA. Therefore, for those who are interested to see beyond classrooms, I would encourage you to broaden your perspectives by taking part in these events! I assure you, it will absolutely be worth your time!

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