From the Swiss mountain pastures to the Bolivan Altiplano, passing through Quebec to complete another academic year!

Spring 2015

Laurence Arpin

Schulich Leader at Université de Montréal

What a relief having this third year of veterinary medicine successfully completed !  Since my return from Switzerland in August, the eve of the new academic year, I feel I did not stop studying and working, eager to make the most of all the knowledge and opportunities this third year (recognized to be very busy) had to offer me.

            During the Christmas break, after a few celebrations with my family and friends, I went back to the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean (North of Quebec) for a week-long externship at the same clinic I’ve gone to the last two years.  Later, during spring break in March, I went in Baie-Saint-Paul to discover a new veterinary practice... and to enjoy some cross-country skiing in the beautiful hilly region of Charlevoix. 

            In March, following the request of Veterinary International Group (a small committee of the Faculty), I organised a lunch-time presentation about milk production and veterinary medicine in Switzerland.  It was a real pleasure to share with other students my passion for this single alpine country and to discuss some intelligent choices they have made to find an equilibrium between modernity and traditions.  A few weeks later, I also organised an information session about organic farming, along with an inspector working for Ecocert Canada.  I felt the need to inform veterinary students about a kind of agriculture unknown to most health professionals yet – especially the kind of agriculture that is to defend consequently with the more and more popular ‘’One Health’’ perspective.

            My determination to learn and to become a leader for ‘’the other way’’ of farming have been rewarded this year by having my name figuring on the Dean’s list (5 best average marks upon the entire class for the last academic year) and by having earned another scholarship : the Merck and American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) Scholarship, which are assigned for scholastic achievements and contributions to the community (34 selected students over 1100 worldwide applicants).

            My summer promises to be very busy as well.  I’ve been hired at the University of Montreal’s Farm Animal Hospital (CHUV) to work there as a veterinary assistant in May, July and August.  In June, I’ll take part into an international cooperation project well-established in Bolivia.  This project, ongoing for a few years and managed by different organisations from Quebec and Bolivia (for more information see websites below – mostly in French), aims to enhance the health and milk production of Aymara native’s small herds.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amultiagros/105764079518629

http://leger.org/actions-internationales/ameriques/production-lait-autochtones-aymaras-haut-plateau-bolivien/

http://upadi-agri.org/upload/news/489.pdf