Veterinary Science - University Gadjah Mada Student Exchange

4 April 2017

In February 2017, three students, Lidya, Jonathon and myself spent one month at the University Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta Indonesia as a part of our final year veterinary intern rotations. This counted towards the public health component of our final year. It was interesting to be able to see the different diseases and different approaches employed in Indonesia. It was also great to be able to travel and see the sights during our down time.

We were greeted at the airport by our student buddies Stella, Nendis and Adretta who took us to our accommodation on campus, and continued to show us around and take care of us throughout the month.

Our first week was spent in the reproductive unit on campus, where we were involved in activities such as ultrasound of small animals, rectal palpation of small holder cattle farmer animals, and a visit to the AI cattle semen collection and processing laboratory.

Our second week involved internal medicine, where we learned about public health concerns in Indonesia such as rabies and anthrax. We also accompanied students in treating small animals in the clinic, had classes on reptile handling and visited the local zoo for a behind the scenes tour of the facility, quarantine and clinic area as well as exhibits.

After this we spent a few days at the government lab responsible for investigating disease outbreaks. We visited farms where sudden deaths had occurred such as a quail farm with suspected avian influenza, a goat farm where the goats had died from herbicide poisoning in the grass, and a calf rearing farm where the calves suffered from poor growth and sporadic deaths, likely due to poor nutrition and parasite burden. We also toured the lab and saw the facilities where virology, microbiology and chemical testing occurs.

After this we visited Lombok island where we saw the wet market and poultry farms and slaughter. This was very different to meat slaughter and distribution in Australia. We also volunteered with Lombok animal rescue where we assisted in castration of stray dogs.

In our final week we were involved in the parasitology and pathology laboratories, working with students in performing post mortems, blood smears, blood tests, and microscopic parasite identification. We also assisted in testing mosquito resistance to different pesticides.

Alongside the official activities, in our time off we visited some great tourist attractions including Borobudur temple, Taman Sari Water Castle, Pindul cave, the volcano Mt Merapi, scuba diving in the Gili islands and Marioboro shopping street. Before my placement commence I also spent a week in Bali and a week in Kalimantan at Tanjung Puting national park, observing orang utans in the wild at Camp Leakey.

Indonesia has so much variety to offer, and this has proved to be one of the most varied placements I have had, and has allowed many interesting learning opportunities, not only about veterinary medicine, but about Indonesia and international public health.

This exchange program was led by Prof Agung Budiyanto at University Gadjah Mada and A/Prof Jenny-Ann Toribio at the University of Sydney. Accommodation was kindly provided at the Faculty Guest House by UGM Dean Joko Prastowo.