IVSA Switzerland, Bern

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Our MO

IVSA Bern is one of two chapters in Switzerland, the other being IVSA Switzerland, Zurich. IVSA Bern has not been active since many years until 2015. A few students decided to revive the IVSA Chapter Bern, and it was officially reinstated during the Symposium in Taiwan in 2016. We are a very small chapter with only a few active members, because our faculty is very small. Nonetheless we've organized a few exchanges, and during the semester we are able to host guest lectures and raise money with our great baking skills.

About us

Currently, we are ten active members (three are missing on the picture):


Our faculty

Small animal clinic, Bern

The faculty of veterinary medicine is part of the University of Bern. Founded in 1834, it has nowadays more than 17'500 students on 8 faculties, we are one of them. In Switzerland, it is only possible to study veterinary medicine in either Bern or Zurich. This was one of the reasons, why those to faculties fusioned in 2006 to the "Vetsuisse-Faculty". In Bern, we are about 400 students all together. We study for five years - in the 11th semester, we have to take a state examination to be approved veterinarians. We are lucky enough to have plenty of practical classes during the first four years - be it sections or propaedeutics. And because we are small classes, we can profit a lot. Our fifth year consists of rotations in all our clinics - three months in the clinic we chose as our focus (horse, farm animals, companion animals, pathology) and one month in all the others. Since we are so few, we get to know our fellow students pretty well. We help each other out and spend the breaks drinking tea in the cafeteria.

Of course, "social events" don't miss out in Bern. Every first thursday of the month, there is a small get-together in the main building (luckily, they always let us celebrate there). What we are most proud of are the four big parties in every year: It starts with the christmas party ("Weihnachtskommers") in winter, where the fourth year rehearses a theater (with many teachers of course). There is always a lot of laughter and a wild party afterwards. In early spring, we are celebrating the "Tutor feast" - no one knows where it has its name from, but we love getting dressed up for the special moto - last year it was "Comics". The spring semester normally ends with the "Forest feast". It takes place in the big forest right next to our university. For the party, we get suckling pigs from the pig clinic to eat - and all the alcohol is for free. Sadly, the weather forces us often to celebrate inside.

Our modern horse clinic

In Bern, we have three modern clinics:

Operation in the farm animals clinic

The clinic for companion animals was renovated a few years ago. It specialised in cats and dogs and has a team with almost 30 veterinarians and more than 40 nurses. During the day, the clinic is busy with interesting cases from all over Switzerland and during night, the emergency takes in all small animals in need. As students, we spend there a few nights every year to help out with the stationary patients and the emergencies during the evening and the night - a very interesting task.

The horse clinic has been reopened just last year and is very well equipped. There is enough space to take in more than 25 horses at once. During our studies, we help out in the evening, at night and also in the weekends.

The clinic for farm animals is split up into a clinic for ruminants and a pig clinic. In the ruminant clinic, animals (mostly cattle) are taken in for emergencies and well as bigger operations that cannot be done on a farm. Compared to the ruminants, the pig clinic keeps the pigs mostly for educational reason. As students, we spend a lot of time there practising different things that may be necessary later on, like examination, taking samples and so on.

The city of Bern


Our university is located in walking distance from the city center of Bern (although we normally prefer to take the bus).

The trick fountains are awesome in the hot summers

Bern is the capital of Switzerland - and a very special one. Unlike many other capitals, it is not the biggest city of the country and has no more than 150'000 inhabitans. The people of Bern are said to be quite slow. Until today, we still are not sure whether this is true or not, but we can say for sure that Bern is the least stressed city you can find. Everyone is spending their time drinking coffee (and beer of course) on one of the many squares of the city or relaxing in the beautiful parks - normally with a stunning view over either the whole city or even the Swiss Alps.

River crowded with gummi boats

In summer, it gets even cooler: We bet you have never been to a capital that you can circle by swimming without getting some bacterial infection or frostbites - and you even see most of the important sights. The river "Aare" leads around the whole city in an agreable speed and you don't even need to move for it! If you don't like rivers, you can cool down in front of the government building by jumping between the trick fountains (together with 2938 children :) ). By the way, the square in front of the government building is turned into an ice skating rink in winter, which is pretty fun too.

Newly renovated bear pit

The most famous building is probably the "Münster", a Swiss-reformed cathedral in the old town. The tower is 100 meters high - enough to get a great view over the whole city.

If we ever get enough of city life, it takes us not much more than 1.5 hours to get to Switzerlands most famous skiing areas - Adelboden for example. In summer, the mountains are perfect for hiking.

Bern - the name of our city - comes from the german word for "bear". Sadly, the swiss bears do not get as far as Bern yet, but since 1500, bears are kept in the city, in the so called "bear pit". This sounds - and was - pretty cruel. Luckily, it was renovated in the last few years and our bears get to enjoy a big and much more appropriate cage that goes all the way down to the river (Picture).

Apart from the bear pit (the name never changed), we have a small zoo where they keep many local animals. We visit it frequently while doing a group exchange.

What we do

As mentioned in the beginning, our MO is very small, but it grows daily. At the moment, we are doing our best to promote IVSA, especially among the younger students.

In 2015, we did a very successful group exchange with IVSA Lyon - our very first one! We visited them for a weekend, and a few weeks later, they came to Bern for a weekend too. While they were here, we went sightseeing, visited the zoo, had a brunch by a beautiful lake and of course also spent some time at university - for example in our skills lab.

In summer 2016, we were able to send our first delegates to the congress in Vienna - a great experience!

For the EVSS 2016, Bern was represented by 13 (!) delegates who spent an awesome weekend in Utrecht.

In early 2017, we are planning a group exchange with IVSA Finland - and we all are very excited!

Exchange in Bern

Are you interested in working in one of our clinics? This is what you need to know:

- We (and the clinics) prefer students who finished their 3rd year - a finished 4th year would be even better.

- As a 4th or 5th-year student, you can apply for the clinical rotations. This means you will be working in one of the three clinics (or the pathology department) among the 5th year students from Bern. These rotations are available during the whole year - for small animals, it is easiest to get in from August to November. You will need to apply in the end of February in the previous year (for autumn 2018 - summer 2019, apply in spring 2018). These externships take at least one month.

- If you are in a lower year, we will certainly also find something for you. Unfortunately, we do not have much experience with this yet, so please apply at least 6 months in advance.

- Generally: Please apply early enough.

--> If you want to know more, please contact us on ivsaswitzerland.bern@ivsamo.org or on our Facebook page (IVSA Bern, Switzerland).