How it all began. I was a 7th semester student in 2011 and had just ruptured my cruciate ligament a few months before. So for the first time since many years I could not train or play handball. I decided to go to this lecture about externships one evening at my university and hears the stories of students who had went to different countries to do their clinical rotations. I wasn’t that far in my curriculum so I decided I wanted to do a externship, and the university was : Washington State University. Mostly because the girl from the lecture had shown pictures of head treading a bear. So I contacted them and send all the required documents. 3 letters of recommendation, which I got from my professors, a CV and a motivation letter. Time passed and holidays where coming and that meant – my externship started! I was super excited, it was the first time that I travelled alone.
The university had given me a contact where I could stay for a few hundred dollars, she was an Italian girl who was doing her PhD in the US. My English at this time was quite bad (one of my worst subjects during high school). So communicating with my flatmate was quit hard. I still remember that I learnt the word „sink“ when I was cleaning my plate.
University started and I began my rotation at the exotic clinic, for two weeks. It was then that I realized that exotics in the US is every little animal that’s neither a cat or a dog.
The days were filled with rats, hamsters, some snakes and birds, many many birds. The WSU has an own bird center where there keep the patients that they can’t release anymore.
Most of the day I was just watching the doctors doing treatments, all I did was cleaning and feeding, the typical student life.
The highlight was definitely the surgery of a wolf that needed an amputation of his front leg.
Another highlight was sending a Boa into a CT. The tricky part was that we had a Boa with lung problems but before we sent her into the CT we needed pictures of a healthy Boa CT so we knew if there was any difference (books and papers of snake medicine are still not as Common as small animal stuff).
The amount of bird patients was also great to learn things like taking blood or just the simple fact of handling this wonderful creatures.
The equine clinic was absolutely different. I met a girl from Colombia which I should meet again at my externship in Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic a few years later.
I was in the middle of my 4th year and it was the first time I attended medical rounds. Following the stories of the different patients was super hard for me and most of the time I had to ask another student what they explained, as soon as the rounds it were over. I felt absolutely stupid but still made great new experiences.
It was the first time I was handling draft horses and was amazed by their soft temper.
My English improved every day and still following the rounds was quite impossible for me. (You will read how this improved in my next externships).
Another „first“ during this externship was my first rectal exam and I felt absolutely nothing except warmth.
All in all the Externship at WSU was a great experience and the beginning of my travel addiction. As soon as I was back home I started to plan my next trip and as soon as I had money and holidays after that externship I traveled the world ♥️
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