Entries - March Meeting 2020 i Rwanda

My first General Assembly

The picture above was taken from the scene of the Kigali Convention Center where GA:s opening ceremony held. Here are some of the nicest people I've met in a long time, in a place that I will always remember.

If I am to be honest I did not have particularly high expectations for my first General Assembly. I had heard about the meeting for the first time last fall during my last semester of the medical program, and most looked to my friend Julia tipped me that it was a great opportunity to meet people from other countries. Contrary to expectation, I had been a reserve for the meeting and soon decided to put my ambition low. I did not quite what it was about, and with that I had just graduated and waited for my intern, I saw probably the most fun trip as a chance to go to Africa and have one last IFMSA-adventure. Little did I know the incredibly awesome experience that awaited.

The first day started early with a quick round on the breakfast buffet followed by sessions with my team SCORE (Research Working Party yield). When I was the sole representative of Sweden on site was the idea that I, guided through the mail contact of Sweden 2 Nores who could not attend, would vote on their behalf later in the week. Then I felt I had pretty bad track on what scores work meant I attended for the most part in sessions and workshops that dealt with some basic about SCORE and the work you are doing. From some countries were more than 1 representative on, while other countries had no present. I quickly became friends with the representatives of Switzerland and Norway, which facilitated tremendously for me when they were little

more experienced than me and I could ask them when I did not understand things. Sessions during the week generally consisted of various workshops, discussions, less lectures and communication exercises. The first evening ended with a social event, as well as all weekday nights did, and this time, they had decided to start with the best (according to me) – National food and drink party! Imagine a cross between an exhibition and a party, with a hall filled with all the countries' own dishes, snacks and drinks - there you have the wonderful recipe for NFDP.

The second day started for my, Adel Eine and Juliet's part (SCOPE representatives) med Exchange Fair. There is a fair for all involved in the clinical and research exchanges which gave a chance for all NEOs and Nores to leave out invitation letters to the respective countries responsible persons, but also enabled the countries to sell their exchanges for students and possibly conclude any new agreements.

And as countries sold out! My God what we got merchandise from various representatives - pens, Car Door, magnets - anything is possible! Not to mention the sweets. From the Swedish side, we invited the bracelet and croissants, chocolate balls, Hoover and copious amounts of sweets.

Besides sessions were also the days are filled with NMO-hour (when we discussed how we would vote the delegation), theme events och plenum, and the occasional joint session. The other day I attended my first plenary, which was what I was most confused (and worried) over before GA. It is difficult to describe the plenary briefly, but you can try to clearly describe it as the place where all IFMSAs important decisions, including votes of the constitution and the election of a new board with President. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is a time consuming and, quite often dull, process that tends to drag on (sometimes up to 4 in the morning), but it is also where all the action takes place. This is where you can listen to the candidates to records of students who put their soul on IFMSA and really passionate about their cardiovascular issues, and where you can actually be involved and make a difference with his voice. I have realized how sick awesome it is. I was also extremely impressed that Olga and Chantal from our delegation dried. They went, despite lack of sleep, All plenary sessions and presidential sessions and updated the rest of us, which instead slept, if all the important information that has been said. My GA had not been the same without them.

The rest of the week consisted of continuous session, interesting discussions and plenary briefings. During the fourth day, I even feel important for a couple of hours when I voted in the election of Regulation Change Proposals and SCORE Supervising Board Candida Tours. I voted admittedly only as a representative of our Swedish Nores, but it's still a bit cool to sit there with his flag and feel involved in the democratic process.

Throughout the week days were filled with social events - usually celebrations of various kinds, as is sometimes dried participate in and sometimes not. But whether it was about to go and have a coffee drink with some newfound friends from Kurdistan in the cafeteria or go and sit and talk with the girls from Hungary during lunch, so expanded even IFMSA-family wherever you went. the heat, openness and willingness to share their culture, I have not seen anyone else with so many people from different backgrounds.

When I think back on it, it's really crazy how much you can load a single week - people, matupplevelser, inspiration, project ideas, beautiful nature, fun and laughter with the delegation - everything was in some strange way into the same number of days as I normally take for me to manage to book a laundry time at home.

I would also like to stress the importance not only to seize the time GA lasts, but also place it on, and especially when it comes to a country like Rwanda. It is not a place to which Swedish students often find themselves in. It's easy to get caught up in GA and barely have time to see the city, country and people visiting, but I think it is important not to miss it. Some of us in the delegation came to Rwanda for a few days before and stayed a few days to visit the markets, memory center, museums and restaurants. It gave a great insight into the country and its history. I also went on a post-GA-turn, as, despite the many organizational problems down the road from the operators' side, finally gave me a fantastic nature experience.

Finally, I also want to say a few words about the corona epidemic that grew larger and larger over time, we found ourselves at hotel- and konferanscentret in Rwanda. Many were worried as the smittostatistiken escalated, and those whose countries had closed the border over the week were worried about how they would get home. During this time, the turmoil could lead to panic and outrage of many, but I still felt that we, regardless of country affiliation, could talk openly about how we in our respective countries could manage this life and the ways in which we could help each other. It was so nice to see the community there, and ensure that all, regardless of background, realized the importance of taking responsibility in these difficult times and be there for each other.
Aside from the worries concerning the corona virus that fought even the officers of the Rwandan GA team with many problems of organization in place in the form of lack of space in the hotel, depositionsstrul, delayed buses etc., but everything is actually in retrospect quite faded in comparison to what worked well.

I take with me vastly more by the General Assembly in Rwanda than I thought I would do. First GA, and probably the last time I start my intern for spring, has been overwhelming and intense, but more than anything else super fun. I have met many wonderful people that I will continue to stay in touch with and been inspired in a way I never thought possible. GA truly surpassed all my hopes, and expectations, with marginal. So to all who still have a chance, I highly recommend to start pep for the next GA and anything else exciting as waiting with IFMSA!

Best regards,
Linnea Kristiansson