Sofia Wiberg has just left her position as local chairman of IFMSA Skåne and is now taking the opportunity to rest before her new assignment as VPI on IFMSA-Sweden's board begins in February.. Everyday Sofia reads at the doctor's program in Lund and here she tells about her experiences from five November days at a sub-regional training (SRT) i Scheveningen, Netherlands (NL).
From semester one when I started to get involved in IFMSA-Sweden, I have envied those who went away to international meetings and conferences. It just seemed so heavenly awesome, instructive and absolutely wonderful. I also wanted to look abroad - broaden my views, challenge myself and learn more about the world. But the semesters flew by far too fast, my involvement in IFMSA slowly escalated and I did not manage to find the time that would need to be freed up to leave. So one evening this summer when I was sitting at home in Växjö and complaining about the constant rain, a registration form appeared for SRT NL in my facebook feed. Was it time now? Fits it with the school? Do I dare to go myself? What if it does not turn out as fantastic as I think? So in retrospect, I honestly can not understand what I was so worried about. The SRT lived up to all my expectations and so much more! Even though it rained more during the five days in the Netherlands than it did in Växjö throughout the summer! Being the only participant from Sweden also turned out to be more of an advantage than a disadvantage because I was "forced" to make contact with new people directly and did not have a Swedish delegation to fall back on..
Now you are probably all curious about what my days actually consisted of! This SRT had several different workshops at the same time and in total we were approx 120 participants from all corners of the world. I participated in a "Public Health Leadership" training where we specifically focused on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Exciting, right? From early morning until late evening we were busy with discussion exercises, lectures and practical exercises - all related to AMR or how to plan and run a project, planning an event or conducting advocacy work in public health. It all culminated in the project planning for an AMR project in small groups. The ultimate goal was to produce a commercial (recorded 01.30 the night before accounting) and a poster and to "sell" our project to the rest of the group at the presentation. Before I left, I was horrified to have to report in English to a large group of people, but after 3 days constant English accounting was not a problem. It was actually more difficult to call home and speak Swedish with my mother.
Now it sounds like everything I did in the Netherlands was very workshop-focused. Do not worry, that was not the case! The little free time I had was spent either blazing with my rommies in our tiny 6-person room, talking about yours and hers in the hostel's family room or playing (and, I'm still playing) on Scheveningen's promenade when the rain did not pour down. Every night after the last session of the day, I was also on the social program. Many late nights, But it was worth it! The first night was "Dutch traditional games-night" and then it rolled on with pub quiz and karaoke night. Last night it was time for NFDP - a completely crazy night with lots of exciting food and dancing until early morning!
This was my first international IFMSA experience and I am so happy that I took the chance to go. I made a lot of new friends, learned a lot about myself and got a whole new picture of the world. So I want to encourage everyone to seek you abroad and dare to follow your dreams! International meetings, yields, conferences or trainings - search, search, search! You will be so inspired, get new perspectives on things and make contacts all over the world. Dare to take the chance! You will not regret it!