FINO is IFMSAs Nordic meeting. To be a IFMSA meeting is quite small - only around fifty participants. Therefore, it is a pretty good meeting to make its international debut at. It is relaxed, more cozy than chaotic. Unlike an NH have time to talk to everyone, and it is clearly less confusing than a GA.
I have been on two international meetings before, a FINO and a GA. Therefore, I felt I had a pretty good idea of what awaited. Very new people, a tight schedule, interesting conversation - and very little sleep. I have had great fun on both of my previous encounters, so I took the train across the Öresund Bridge with sky-high expectations. Somewhere in the back of my head I heard my more pessimistic friends Fair you will be disappointed, you will be disappointed - but not! IMCCE, our Danish sister association, delivered an absolutely fantastic meeting, and FINO 2018 was even better than I dared hope for.
The theme of the FINO was the UN seventeenth Sustainable Development Goal, Partnerships for the Goals. SDG17 about how cooperation at various levels is a prerequisite for us to be able to reach the remaining sixteen goals. Cooperation theme permeated everything over the weekend - lectures, parties and workshops. Extra fun, I thought it was that IMCC has focused on cooperation not only in the health sector, but also with other disciplines. For example, Andreas Rasche from Copenhagen Business School to talk about how to work with the private sector without losing its credibility as NGO, and the guy who facilitated my workshops studied political science and was working on policies rather than medicine.
At international meetings, participants are divided generally into groups based on the working man is active in. Livh-people participate in Scorp-session, and apart from the occasional joint sessions you do not make the people of the other working groups as much. IMCC had chosen to completely ignore the working group subdivision, and instead had to choose a line to follow. The lines available was Campaigns, Events and International Partnerships. All workshops they attended were connected to the line chosen, and became gradually higher level over the weekend. I chose to attend Campaigns. Our first session was about the campaign labor grounds, and contained pretty much theory. We got us a lot of tools that we could then use in subsequent sessions when our task was to small groups themselves design a campaign. Our facilitators were both skilled and demanding - I do not think I was more stressed or pressed during the IFMSA meeting, but I have on the other hand, never learned more nor. I feel definitely better equipped to engage in advocacy work now than I did before FINO.
We lived in central Copenhagen, ten minutes from Hovedbanegården, and apart from the somewhat obscure lunch (Danish rye bread with boiled potatoes and a plethora of different fillings) which was repeated every day IMCC had thought of just about everything. The premises were jättefina, the social program was great and most importantly - the coffee flowed. Although too weak to begin with, but after advisable intervention by the Swedish delegation was caffeine content satisfactory high during the second day. The coffee was needed - sleep is in short supply on the IFMSA meetings. I always feel that sleep is a difficult balancing act when I'm away. To get the most from lectures and sessions have to try to squeeze in at least a few hours of sleep, but it meant that a few hours less with all the cool new friends to get to know. With the risk of sounding really cliché then it's often just the people you meet that make IFMSA meetings so inspiring and fun. Lectures are all very well - often it's just as rewarding to exchange ideas and experiences at three o'clock at night when you should be sleeping. I do not really understand how IFMSA meetings go together. You sleep and nothing is constant dead tired, but will always be home with twice as much energy as they went away with.
UP 2018 was my best IFMSA meeting date, and I am extremely grateful that I had to go again. Extras happy I am that I got to share the weekend with the rest of the Swedish gang. "The best ever delegation" might sound exaggerated, but it comes from a source with far more international experience than I have. I can not but agree. best meeting, best delegation. Icelanders have a lot to live up to when they arrange FINO 2019!