By Lucy Singh
This was my first IFMSA general assembly (GA), and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had been warned by seasoned IFMSA-ers that it would be totally overwhelming and completely mind-blowing – and certainly an experience never to forget.
I am the National Exchange Officer (NEO) for outgoing students this year – this is a Medsin national committee role, but also an IFMSA role since the clinical exchanges program we run at Medsin is all done through the IFMSA. For this reason, I was attending the Standing Committee on Professional Exchange (SCOPE) sessions. Unfortunately I could only attend the first few days of MM due to university commitments, but even those few days were full to the brim of experiences.
I think having been in contact with other NEOs throughout the year and attending an IFMSA weekend for NEOs in the European Region equipped me well for the GA, as I didn’t find it as overwhelming as I had been warned about. This allowed me to look at the whole picture of the IFMSA a bit better, rather than just focussing at the micro level on exchanges. More specifically, I could consider how we, as the Medsin network, fit into the picture – and how we could have a say in things happening at an international level. Here’s a quick overview of a few of my observations…
Something that we were representing Medsin at the GA to do was to vote on bylaw changes and policies on a range of issues. It was fantastic to see some of our delegation already engaged in policy writing and proposing on issues. This is our chance to bring forward issues that we, as a network, care about and think that the IFMSA should be responding to. Without a doubt, this is a fantastic way to have a voice on an international level.
In the IFMSA, there are so many students from across the globe with a plethora of different experiences – and we have so much to learn from others by working together. Whilst some national member organisations (NMOs; Medsin is the UK NMO!) are very different in their aims to us, other NMOs are working towards the same goals as we are. What better a way to progress in these goals than working together?
There is so much talent across the Medsin network – it’s so evident during the events put on locally and the workshops and trainings held at national conferences. I would love to see more of our network sharing their skills through holding workshops and trainings at an international level. It might seem odd, but Medsin are quite different to many other NMOs in just how global health focussed we are – and I definitely think we can share our passion and skills in this area on an international level.
I’ve come back thoroughly inspired – by those across the world and all the incredible work they are doing to improve health and reduce inequities, and by those who form the Medsin network and all the work we do locally to work towards the same vision. At the end of the day, it all comes back to Medsin’s mantra: global health, local issue. I really encourage you to get involved internationally, and think about how you can learn from others and share your skills to do our bit as Medsin in changing the world.