Blogs

Exchange The World: March Meeting 2016 Malta

Posted by Natasha Matthews

Sun, 10 Apr 2016

Medsin-UK Director of International Affairs. Get in contact via international@medsin.org

This is the sixth post of a blog series written by delegates to the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), March Meeting 2016 (MM16) in Malta. Stay tuned to this blog series to hear about Medsin’s work at the most recent General Assembly (GA)! For more information, email international@medsin.org, and join our Medsin International Facebook page!

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Mehak Chadha, one of our National Officers for Research Exchange (NOREs), tells us about her work to organise research exchanges at the most recent IFMSA General Assembly, as well highlighting how YOU can get more involved:

As a National Officer on Research Exchange (NORE), one of the highlights of the role is the opportunity to attend an IFMSA General Assembly (GA). I attended my first GA during the August Meeting 2015 in Macedonia. It was incredible to spend five days with over one thousand like-minded students from all across the globe, representing over one hundred countries. The experience turned out to be amazing and it left me with a strong desire to attend another one.

GAs can be overwhelming at first; hence it helps to be part of a small delegation representing your country. They become a little family away from home, who are there for support and, of course, quality banter. Whilst it’s always fun to complain about the UK, it’s hard not to feel a swell of pride when waving your Union Jack to Spice Girls during Cultural Night…

As a NORE, it is in my list of duties to attend the SCORE Sessions at the GA, keeping up-to-date with the program at an international level. My role is to oversee research exchanges between students in the UK and those abroad. As a lot of communication is required with other NOREs, it’s great actually getting to meet them in person. SCORE is very new to the UK, with this being our first year receiving incoming students. A lot of hard work has been put in and obstacles tackled in order to try and establish SCORE here. Therefore, from speaking to other NOREs, it was reassuring to realise that we have not been alone in the issues that we’ve faced.

We currently only have SCORE local committees running in Newcastle and Aberdeen. Therefore it was great to bring Sarah, a student interested in establishing SCORE in Sheffield, to these sessions. The program will only grow by building capacity and enthusiasm amongst the team. SCORE sessions at the GA were perfect in increasing motivation – from fun group energisers and bonding activities, to small working groups discussing areas for improvement.

The highlights of the GA have to be events involving cultural celebration. The Exchanges Fair was an opportunity for every country participating in exchanges (SCORE and SCOPE) to promote their programs. It was a great way to talk to many different people, sample treats from around the world and discuss the possibility of signing contracts between our countries at the August Meeting.

Outside of the exchanges world, there were many other events where everyone could get involved. The National Food and Drink Party is notorious for being the best party of the whole GA. Mixing alcohol and food from over one hundred countries can be pretty risky…although worth it, as you may never find such a unique cultural experience anywhere else.

If you are a passionate person, who wants to make a positive impact on the world in your own way, the GA is the best place to be. There are various global health and training sessions running throughout the conference. There you can learn and develop skills, which you can take away to hopefully tackle issues being faced in your own area.

Furthermore, if you can, try to arrive a couple of days before the GA or attend the post-GA.  Take the opportunity to explore the beautiful countries that the conferences are hosted in.

If you can’t make it to a GA, there are IFMSA Regional Meetings and many other Subregional Trainings you could attend. They offer a similar experience to the GA – learning more about exchanges, make international friends and party.

Like the Facebook pages ‘Official IFMSA SCORE’, ‘Medsin Exchanges’ and ‘Medsin International’ for more updates.

If you are interested in finding out more about setting up research exchanges at your university, then please email the National Officers at research@medsin.org. We would be happy to have you on board and will advise you as best we can.

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