Why am I always so stunned at how quickly time seems to pass? It is April 2016 as I type this, and I cannot believe that it has been over a year since the Dermatology in Chinese Medicine Diploma Course commenced in London. I have since traveled to London from Colorado 5 times. I have seen Brighton and Hove (in the south of England) and journeyed to Ireland and Scotland as well. It was one of the most intense and amazing years of my life, both personally and professionally. To get a glimpse into the first leg of my trips across the Pond, read this post. To see photos from my side trip to Ireland and read an interview with me about studying abroad, check out this post. Once you are caught up, carry on here as I dive into the last 2 study modules and my travels in Scotland. Enjoy!
September 2015. Aah, it was good to be back in London. I really really love this city. Big Ben truly is that glittery gold when the sun shines it. I took this (and all the photos here) just with my phone.
Module 4 of the Dermatology in Chinese Medicine Diploma Course was another intense 3 days of learning.
I was so psyched to finally tackle the topic of acne. I treat so many cases of acne in my clinic and it was great to study this disease in depth. Some cases are simple and some…are not. I am so much better at treating this condition now.
When our extended weekend of study was completed, I met up with my best friend and we traveled up to Scotland. Booking the cheapest ways to get around meant we sometimes had to sacrifice comfort (like being crammed in this seat for 2 hours). Ah, well…it was worth it in the end.
First stop in Scotland – Edinburgh Castle. We took the tour inside and saw everything. Here coos graze beneath a magnificent view of the castle.
Doune Castle, outside of Stirling, Scotland. If you are a fan of Outlander (the TV series based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon) then you’ll recognize this place as Castle Leoch. It also was the location for Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I am a HUGE Outlander fan and we got here after it was closed for tours. We had the entire grounds to ourselves. It was surreal.
Eilean Donan Castle in the western Highlands. Stunning at every angle. It sits at the junction of 3 sea lochs and can look completely different depending on the lighting, weather and the tide.
After spending time in Wester Ross (the western region of the Highlands), we made our way to Inverness, one of my favorite places in the world. This is the east bank of the River Ness. The sun lit it up perfectly as we were crossing a foot bridge over the river.
Hamish!! Well, I have no idea if that is his real name, but that is what I called this furry fellow living near Culloden Battlefield. I just adore Highland coos. Maybe I will someday have enough land to raise a small herd myself. This girl can dream, anyway.
November 2015. Awaiting my last flight to London for the year. I was sure to book a direct flight a couple of days prior to the final exam to ensure I would get there with plenty of time to arrive to class relaxed and ready to take the test. I waited and waited as the flight was delayed more than once. Then it was cancelled. Then there were no flights left out of Denver International Airport to get me to London in time for the final exam! I nearly panicked. I did my best to hold back the tears but they squeezed out of my eyes anyway. A young kid working the British Airways counter took pity on me and he was able to finagle a flight to Boston with a connection to London the next morning, but only after I verbally guided him through problem-solving steps (“Surely there must be one seat on ANY plane going east out of Denver to get me a step closer to England. I can get a flight to London tomorrow morning out of Chicago or Atlanta or NYC or Boston, can’t I? PLEASE!!”). In the end, it took 3 flights but I got to London a few hours before the exam – just enough time to check into my room, take a nap and have a glass of wine to unwind from the stress of travel. What a relief!
Oxford Street, Central London donning its best holiday light displays. So festive!
The final exam for the Dermatology in Chinese Medicine Diploma Course was BRUTAL. Two parts, five full hours. And I was beyond jet-lagged after my stressful attempt to get here. I have taken more academic exams than I care to count in my days as a civil engineer and as a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. This one was the hardest. Mostly because it was all open-ended and you had to write as fast as you could to complete the test in the allotted time. BRUTAL, I tell ya’.
The final exam for the dermatology portion was not the end of the course. We took another 2 full days to study how to treat the inflammatory diseases seen here with Chinese Herbal Medicine. These diseases share with inflammatory skin disease some similar theory and patterns according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), so it made sense to tackle these as well. We often see allergic asthma and rhinitis as part of the picture with atopic eczema.
A handful of my closest friends from this dermatology course, standing atop Primrose Hill in London at sunset. These awesome folks you see here are from France, Austria, Switzerland and the U.S. (I think my good friend from Australia must have taken the photo). I hope to stay friends with them for the rest of my life. It was a privilege and an adventure to learn alongside them. Conversations with them were eye-opening and broadened my view of our world. I hope they know how much their friendship means to me. (That’s me in front in the white T-shirt.)
More of my fellow international students and our revered teacher, Mazin Al-Khafaji (second from right). I truly feel honored to have been a part of this impressive group of Chinese Medicine practitioners from around the world. Our 2015 class had physicians and TCM practitioners from Australia (!), Austria, England, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. I am so grateful to have met these wonderful people.
THE PRIZE. Well, the real prize is the new knowledge and clinical skills I now have that will help hundreds (or maybe even thousands, eventually) of patients suffering from skin diseases. But passing that damn exam and getting this diploma feels like a real accomplishment. I worked so hard for it. Can’t wait to frame it and get it up on the wall!
Thank you for following my journey this past year as I went on this intense learning adventure! If you would like to see more photos of England, Scotland and Ireland, comment below. If I get enough comments urging me to share them, I will write up another post with photos you haven’t seen on any of our social media pages yet. There was so much to see and I had never been to the UK or Ireland before, so everything seemed exciting and enchanting to me! I would be thrilled to share my perspective with you, but only if you want me to 😉
Tags: Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, dermatology, london, scotland, studying abroad
Topics: Chinese Medicine
Publish Date: April 7, 2016 *Articles may include updates since original publishing.
Diana Hermann is a licensed acupuncturist and board certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She received her Master Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, OR and trained in China at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Diana treats patients in her Fort Collins, Colorado clinic and hand crafts herbal skin care products for her company Zi Zai Dermatology. In 2015, she completed the Diploma In Chinese Medicine Dermatology program from Avicenna in London, UK. She completed the program for a second time in 2019 in Chicago.