Visit by Chinese Veterinary Students Renews Exchange Relationship with Sichuan Agricultural University

Friday, August 4, 2023

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The SAU students and faculty member hold up their certificates alongside PVM members as a presentation shows a slide show of photos behind them
The SAU veterinary students and faculty member, Dr. Zhijun Zhong (fourth from the left), each received a commemorative certificate during the farewell reception. They are joined by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kathy Salisbury, Director of Global Engagement Addison Sheldon (second from the right) and Matt Winzeler, program administrator for the Office of Global Engagement.

Students from Sichuan Agricultural University (SAU) and their faculty advisor received a warm welcome and a host of clinical learning experiences during a recent two-week visit to the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine. The college hosted the visit as part of a long-standing exchange relationship with the SAU College of Veterinary Medicine in Chengdu in China’s Sichuan Province. 

Ziyi spoke on behalf of her fellow students during the reception
SAU veterinary student Ziyi Zhan spoke at the farewell reception Friday, July 28, expressing gratitude for the clinical learning experiences provided by the exchange program.

As their visit came to a conclusion last week, the SAU delegation was recognized at a farewell reception held Friday (July 28) in the Joy M. Matson Multi-purpose Room at the David and Bonnie Brunner Small Animal Hospital. “The relationship between Sichuan Agricultural University and the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine has remained strong for many years now,” said Addison Sheldon, PVM’s director of global engagement. “Of course, COVID-19 halted our exchanges for a few years, but not even a pandemic can stop our friendship, and it’s wonderful to have you back in West Lafayette,” Addison said to the group of five SAU veterinary students and the faculty member who accompanied them, professor and surgeon Dr. Zhijun Zhong. “We truly look forward to your visits each year and always admire your enthusiasm to learn and gain a new perspective of veterinary medicine,” Addison said.

The externship is designed to give the visiting students an overview of how veterinary medicine is practiced in the United States, by enabling them to observe the work performed by PVM clinicians and veterinary nurses in the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital. At the farewell reception, one of the students, Ziyi Zhan, who chose to go by the American name “Murphy,” said, “Today marks a significant milestone in our veterinary journey, and as I stand before you, I am filled with gratitude and a profound sense of accomplishment.”  She expressed appreciation to everyone involved in the exchange program. “It is because of your efforts that we were granted this excellent opportunity to broaden our horizons, learn new veterinary skills, and acquire valuable knowledge. Your guidance and unwavering support in every aspect have been truly invaluable throughout our time here.”

Dr. Zhong watches surgery staff corral a horse in the equine hospital from an observation deck
Dr. Zhijun Zhong leans against the railing observing the Purdue University Equine Hospital surgery team in action.

Zhan added, “We are also immensely grateful to all the individuals we encountered during our rotations in different departments at the Veterinary Hospital. From our veterinary student peers and veterinary nurses to house officers and professors, we have learned so much from each and every one of them. Despite our language barrier, the friendly veterinary colleagues around us constantly affirmed and encouraged us. Their warmth and inclusiveness made us feel not just like visitors, but integral members of the medical team.”

Outside of the clinical rotations, the visiting students also toured Purdue’s campus, visited the zoo, attended cookouts, and tried new foods. In particular, Addison talked about a hot pot dinner that they prepared for their hosts. “The educational experience and rotations are of course important, but it’s activities like our hot pot dinner that show the importance of exchanges like this. These opportunities allow us to build bridges, come together, learn from one another, and create lasting friendships. It makes me happy to hear that you enjoyed meeting the friendly staff, faculty, and students at Purdue.”

Dr. Salisbury holds up a panda themed paper fan and stuffed panda as she smiles joined by Dr. Zhong at the reception
Dr. Kathy Salisbury, associate dean for academic affairs, accepted panda-themed commemorative gifts on behalf of the college from Dr. Zhijun Zhong, of the SAU faculty.

Zhan affirmed that the entire exchange experience was valuable. “This exchange program has had a profound impact on our personal growth,” Zhan said. “As we bid farewell today, we leave with increased confidence and optimism. We will carry this positive attitude and the experiences gained here throughout our careers, and for this, we are immensely grateful for this life-changing opportunity.” 

Addison thanked the SAU delegation for visiting the college and in particular, Dr. Zhong for leading the group.  He also thanked the Purdue faculty and staff who helped host the visit, including Dr. Jeff Ko, professor of anesthesiology; Dr. Riyi Shi, Mari Hulman George Endowed Professor of Applied Neuroscience and director of the Center for Paralysis Research; Dr. Steve Thompson, clinical associate professor of small animal primary care; and Matt Winzeler, Office of Global Engagement program administrator.

The farewell reception program concluded as Dr. Kathy Salisbury, associate dean for academic affairs, presented certificates to each of the SAU veterinary students and Dr. Zhong. 

This year marks the first time since 2019 that veterinary students from SAU were able to visit Purdue.  Addison says the hope is to send a delegation of Purdue students to Sichuan Agricultural University sometime in 2024.

Drs. Jeff Ko and Steve Thompson join the SAU visitors
The SAU delegation with a few of their PVM faculty hosts, Drs. Jeff Ko and Steve Thompson (second and third from the left).

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr |

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