I am spending four weeks on an exchange with the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School in Edinburgh, Scotland. It has been a fun adventure, but there has been a lot to get used to. For example, it took me two weeks to be able to pronounce the name correctly: “Edinbura.”
The city itself is just like a movie: perfect Scottish accents, the buildings are all stone monsters, and crocus and daffodils bloom in the park. Edinburgh comes complete with kilt stores, whiskey shops and a castle perched high on a hill, overlooking everything. Occasionally, a guy walks by in a kilt. (And occasionally, the incessant wind blows that kilt up, Marilyn-Monroe style. Modern Scots do wear something underneath.)
My rotations at the vet school have been interesting, and I have seen the same type of cases here as I have seen in Colorado. My first week was spent on dermatology, which is as complex and frustrating here in Scotland as it is in the States. Then I spent a week spaying and neutering, doing equine ambulatory work, and finally, a week on exotics. Dedication to animal welfare and trying to practice the highest quality of medicine have been apparent at both schools, as well as the camaraderie among students and our growing excitement to be finished with vet school. We have the same concerns over student debt, finding a job, and finding a good mentor.
Some things in vet school are universal, like the confusion on the first day of a new rotation. What should I be doing? Who is responsible for what? There are periods of furious activity followed by stretches of nothing to do. Stress about tests never really goes away.
I have spent a month in this city, figuring out bus routes and train schedules, sipping coffee in little cafes, and even trying haggis (only once). Many things are wildly different, but the dedication of owners to their pets and vets desire to care for those animals has remained the same.