#30YearThrowback – Saying goodbye to Birmingham

Well, who’d have thought we’d have to cancel our last Birmingham Congress because of a worldwide pandemic? We certainly didn’t! It was such a hard decision, and whilst we know it was the right one, it’s sad to think that Congress would have been in full swing right now.

During our #30YearThrowback series, we definitely learnt of several highs that have happened over the years at Congress, but also a few lows. Congress in Birmingham has been a rollercoaster, and it’s a shame that we didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to the amazing city that hosted us for 29 years.

So, to celebrate Birmingham and the wonderful memories it gave us, we wanted to share the last two posts of our #30YearThrowback series to hopefully turn a sad time into a positive one, and look at some of the amazing memories that Congress in Birmingham gave some of our BSAVA International Scholarship recipients.

Krista Arnold who is our Chair of BSAVA International Affairs Committee, has gathered reviews from several of our Scholarship recipients who speak about how Congress changed their lives and allowed them to experience things they never thought they would.

Speaking about the Scholarship, Krista said: “To improve the understanding and communication of companion animal practitioners in Europe, every year we organise an annual visiting program to allow four members of emerging small animal veterinary organisations which are members of FECAVA, the opportunity to attend Congress. This provides the opportunity for young CA veterinarians from emerging countries to experience a high profile Congress they would otherwise not be able to afford.”

Since 2014, Krista and volunteers of the BSAVA International Affairs Committee have been looking after the scholars during Congress. Since then, we have had applications from 23 European countries and attendees from 11 European countries.

Krista says, “We want to give them a great experience, so I welcome them on their arrival and give them guidance on how to get the best from the full schedule over the four days of Congress. With such a wide range of topic streams there is plenty to keep them occupied”.

During the day, they attend lectures of their interest and in the evenings, we keep them together as a group and arrange for them to meet colleagues and specialists of their field of interest who they can talk to and make new contacts.

Inspired by the Congress experience, several scholars moved on to do further specialised training in their own country and one of our scholars from last year, Tetiana, received an award for significant contributions to the development of Ukraine’s vet medicine.

We’ve had several amazing reviews from those who have received the scholarship over the years:

“Events like this are not only about sharing knowledge and information but also about meeting people, making new relationships. It gives us new enthusiasm to continue doing our job and to become better vets.” – Jana, Mariana and Michael 2014, Czech Republic

“We are grateful to BSAVA and FECAVA for the opportunity to participate in this great event. We returned to our homeland with new knowledge and new impressions and a great desire to meet again soon.” Gohar and Hovannes, 2016, Armenia.

“The BSAVA Congress 2016 was a unique opportunity for us to improve and update our knowledge with some of the best small animal veterinarians in the world. It was amazing to have the opportunity to exchange ideas about our experiences with colleagues from so many different parts of the world” Ana and Maria, 2016, Portugal.

“As the first ever Serbian delegate for BSAVA Congress scholars, it was a great honour to get this opportunity. This whole experience was unforgettable… a big thank you for the amazing experience, lifetime memories and great time with quality people.” Haita, 2017, Serbia

“Highly experienced speakers perfectly presented their subjects using various approaches. Someone was conducting an interactive survey, someone made jokes the entire lecture, and it seemed as if you were at some show, and someone was telling the story as if you had worked with the lecturer for many years.” Denis, 2018, Ukraine

“Good lectures make you think outside the frames you have learned, give you new ideas about therapies and broaden horizons. You can see where yPicture14ou can and should improve your knowledge. Veterinary medicine advances fast, so attending such congresses is crucial for professional development.” Ursa, 2019, Slovenia

“This visit had much more influence on me than I could ever imagine. And it really might change my whole life. Thank you, BSAVA.” Tetiana, 2019, Ukraine.

The last Congress in Birmingham may not be happening, but it has helped make lifelong memories and shared information to people all over the world. This makes our move to Manchester all the more exciting, and we hope you’ll come and see for yourselves just how amazing Manchester really is.

Photo credits: Krista Arnold.