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Graduations culminate in a challenging and non-traditional academic year

22.06.2020   Do not miss , News

Graduation festivities began at the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice. The first graduates of the General Veterinary Medicine study program, who completed a six-year doctoral study in English, were the first to personally receive their diplomas in the auditorium on Monday, June 22, 2020. A total of 50 foreign students completed the program, but not everyone could come to Košice for the ceremony due to the coronavirus. Most foreign graduates are from Norway (17), Great Britain (13), Ireland (8), France (4), Iceland (2) and one each from Canada, Israel, Malta, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States. On Thursday, June 25, 2020, 42 of this year's 107 graduates of the pharmacy study program will be graduating. On Monday, June 29, 2020, 50 out of 56 graduates of the six-year study program in General Veterinary Medicine in the Slovak language will receive their diplomas.

Students of the bachelor's study programs also completed their studies in Safety of feeds and foodstuffs (7 graduates), Man-animal relationship and its use in canistherapy and hippotherapy (14), Cynology (18), Animal Science - a joint study program with the Norwegian Nord University in Bodø (19 ) and the masters program The market and quality of foodstuffs (13).

„Graduation is one of the most special academic ceremonies. Today’s ceremony had to be adapted to the new conditions under the pandemic. However, the uniqueness of this celebration  has remained unchanged. This festive moment of the graduation ceremony should compensate for the past hectic weeks and months you spent with your textbooks in order to succeed in front of the state exams committees. What is exceptional with regard to you, and what was certainly very demanding, was the necessity of adjustment to the life in a foreign country.,” said the rector of the university Jana Mojžišová in her speech. „I sincerely hope that your experiences from Slovakia have been mostly positive, that you were able to find here interesting places, relish pleasant moments and establish friendships that can survive the test of time and distance. We were happy to welcome you here and tried to give you our best. We would like to believe that you take to your homes not only your university diplomas, but also affection for this country and its people.”

„Dear Doctors, on behalf of myself, your teachers and personnel of both our universities we wish you bright future and fulfilling of all your wishes in professional and private life. And on top of this I wish you good health, happiness and every success. I sincerely believe that this is not a “goodbye”, it is just a “see you later”. Do come back anytime to the place where you spent the wonderful student days, even if it be in ten, twenty or more years’ time. Savour this moment because it is and will be unforgettable. But now is the time to step out boldly full of optimism and enthusiasm to welcome your future,” the rector Mojžišová said goodbye.

Katherine Weston spoke on behalf of the university graduates:

„Good morning and welcome ladies and gentlemen, Madam Rector, Vice-Rectors, friends and family (both in attendance and watching from home). And most importantly, welcome the graduating class of 2020. Unfortunately, not all of our classmates could be here today to celebrate, but they are with us in spirit.

Remember the very first day we came to campus for our orientation meeting with Vice-Rector Tomko? Walking up to Ardo, we got a first glimpse of our future classmates. We were all such different people from many different backgrounds, but we all had two things in common. First, we had made the decision to become veterinarians. And second, in order to do this, we were just crazy enough to put our entire lives on hold and move 1000s of kms away to, let’s face it, a country and city that we knew very little about.  I think that speaks to all of our characters. It shows courage, true passion, and commitment toward this career path.

At that time, 4 to 6 years felt like an eternity. And I think it is safe to say no one truly knew what we were getting ourselves into. We had a bit of a slow start, with most of our time that first semester being spent in the classroom. The only animal interaction we had was caring for stray cats that wandered past dorms. However, we should not have been worried as there were many trips to the farm, clinical hours, surgeries on rats and rectal exams in our future. At exam time, our lives were dedicated to late night study sessions fuelled by a countless number of energy drinks and the encouragement of our friends.

But luckily it was not always about studying. We also had the opportunity to really immerse ourselves in this country. From hockey games, hiking or skiing in the mountains, ballets and operas at the state theatre, mulled wine at the Christmas markets, and enjoying a coffee on beautiful Hlavná, we were rarely at a loss of what to do with our down time. We even had the chance to try national delicacies, like Tatra Tea.

We have not only gained an education in veterinary medicine, but also life education. Every experience we have had here, both good and bad, has shaped us into the capable, intelligent, hard working people we are today.

It seems like a lifetime ago that we came in strangers from all parts of the world, and now we are parting. It is bittersweet to leave this place that we have grown to love and can now call home. We are not only leaving as colleges, but as a true family and community that we will always be able to rely on. (No matter what the time change). We are forever bonded by something that very few other people in our lives will be able to understand.

I wanted to take a moment to thank our professors for their hard work and dedication to our education. Our world class educators are fundamental in making this an exemplary University we are all lucky to have attended. I also want to say a heartfelt thank you our friends and family back at home. Although they can’t be here with us today, they were an essential factor in our success. We have all worked incredibly hard to fulfil our dreams and to be able to put those two letters in front of our names.

I am honoured to be standing in front of a room full of people who I know are going to have amazing careers in veterinary medicine. Thank you so much for making the last 4 years the most amazing part of my life.” 

The report from the celebration was filmed by TV Košice.