The journey of the Dutch Delegates at the 66th MMThose who are crazy enough to try and change the world are the ones that actually do
The story started with 16 Dutch delegates who represented IFMSA-NL during the 66th March Meeting General Assembly (GA) in Budva, Montenegro. What did these delegates learn from this whole experience, and what is it they will never forget?
Please read their experiences below.
Sanne de Wit – Board member on International Affairs / head of delegation
"A moment I will never forget is the last moment of the Presidents’ sessions. Normally these sessions are mostly focused on discussions, and it is harder to make real connections with each other. This time it was different, and during the last session many beautiful stories were shared: from people who found it exciting to come to the GA, because they were afraid they wouldn’t be accepted, yet never had felt more at home somewhere. Together with the beautiful statements that were made during the plenary, IFMSA gives me hope for the future; hope that there is a new generation who is ready to take care of a better world, together. This gives me goose bumps, and tears in my eyes."
Suzanne Pees – Elect Board member on International Affairs
"The best thing about the GA were, surprisingly enough, the plenaries, and especially the plenary where the candidates presented themselves. I found it very inspiring to see all these motivated people present their plans and goals, and discuss which way they wanted IFMSA to go. During the plenary of the elections I was even a bit nervous about the results! I was able to learn the most during the pre-GA, where I followed the president’s workshops, and the president’s sessions during the GA, where all IFMSA presidents discuss the GA matters at hand. I really learned a lot about IFMSA here, and I got to meet great people. I know for sure that this will help me in my future tasks as the IFMSA-NL board member on International Affairs!"
Nina Gelineau – Co-head of delegation
"Though this was my third GA, this was the first time I was the co-head of the delegation. I never realize how much IFMSA has already given me and taught me, until it is my time to teach others. And though I was able to show the new delegates the way of the ropes, meeting new people still amazed and inspired me. IFMSA for me will never not be a place where true friendship is built, ideals are reached, and the world is made a better place. Looking around at everyone during a GA, where the healthcare leaders of tomorrow sit, gives me hope for the future!"
Iris Blom – National Exchange Officer General
"This was my first GA, and it was amazing! On behalf of IFMSA-NL I had to vote about multiple amendments to the regulations surrounding the IFMSA exchanges. I found it very interesting to see how this is done, with different convictions and motives from students from all over the world! I was able to build great friendships with all these students and I know that in the future I will be able to benefit from this a lot!"
Demi Donker – National Exchange Officer on Outgoing students
"The Exchange Fair, where all countries promote their own exchange program, I found to be the most fun part of the whole GA. It is crazy what some countries bring along to promote their programs. Their stands were filled with goodies, stickers, and promotional materials. It was very cool to participate in this fair."
Tessa Noijons – National Officer on Medical Education
"What I take home with me from the GA is mostly new energy and motivation. It was once again a very interesting experience where I learned a lot. The highlights for me were the sessions on Medical Education that I had the privilege to organize and got to enjoy with two other amazing Dutch delegates."
Kim van Daalen – National Public Health Officer
"The GA for me was where I could see our slogan "Think globally, act locally" become reality through discussions with students from all over the world about the issues we are facing, and the projects we organize. I met the most inspiring, passionate, and incredible people, which resulted in new collaborations and new projects."
Mehri Samim – National Officer on Human Rights and Peace
"What has stayed with me the most after the last GA is the fact that every member has a voice, whether you are locally, nationally, or internationally active within IFMSA. I myself have witnessed the fact that my voice was heard and has caused changes. I am happy and proud of that!"
Sohayla Bendaoud – National Officer on Sexual and Reproductive health including HIV/AIDS
"The GA was the first time I realized that IFMSA-NL is not alone. All around the world there are students who really commit themselves to the same goals as IFMSA-NL does. Sometimes you can have the feeling that what you are doing doesn’t really make a difference, but know that there are more than 1 million students in the whole world doing exactly the same. Together we will definitely make the difference!"
Fleur Zijlstra – General delegate
"One of the things that I found the most fun about the GA is getting to know different people, and especially different cultures. We usually don’t realize it, but in the Netherlands we live a very comfortable life, whilst there is actually a lot that doesn’t go well in the world. You don’t really realize this until you are in the middle of it or when you hear about it from someone who lives in the middle of it. It really touched me to be able to speak to these people and this grounded me. This experience has converted into a learning opportunity for me. It truly came to me that we can learn from each other and we must help each other. In the Netherlands we can also do things to help people in other countries."
Priya Awadpersad – General delegate
"It was very great to see that so many people from all over the world are working towards the same goals as you are, and that all of those people have the same vision and the same problems when organizing their projects. Looking back at this wonderful experience I would definitely recommend it to everyone"
Randy Kwa – General delegate
"What impressed me the most during the GA was the wonderful atmosphere. I got to know a lot of people from all over the world, and no matter what the cultural background was, they were all very helpful and open. This led to a very brotherly ambiance. No wonder they call it the IFMSA-family!"
Eline Laumen – General delegate
"The whole GA made a lasting impression on me. However, what has stayed with me the most is the Activities Fair, where students from all over the world presented activities they organize in their countries. Here you could see very well how much impact we have as IFMSA, and how much we do all over the world. Here it also became clear to me how good our lives are in the Netherlands, and how well we are doing as IFMSA-NL, as we are doing a great job aiming our projects on resolving current problems. Furthermore we had the opportunity to present four IFMSA-NL projects that really impressed everyone. I went to the Activities Fair thinking it would give me ideas for new projects for the Netherlands, but it had also made me proud realizing we are already organizing so many great things."
Mahtab Nasrollah – General delegate
`Every GA gives you the unique chance to meet medical students from around the world and share knowledge, cultures and laughter. I have learned more about the world and especially about the different health systems in just 10 days, than any television show or book could have taught me!"
Juliette Mattijsen – General delegate
"My first GA was overwhelming. Despite the great organisation everything still seemed huge and far off. But the diversity of people that I met there was inspiring. In the sessions I attended the focus was purely on relevant subjects and showed how many of the international IFMSA students are pioneers, fighting for equality between men and women, and critical towards the heteronormativity. Even though some of these values are all but obvious in a lot of countries. In Montenegro I also got the chance to learn a lot about policy making, because I had the opportunity to compare the international structure with the structure within IFMSA-NL. Overall it was an amazing, informative, and rich experience!"
Anna Bierbooms – General delegate
"A GA is larger than you think. There are many people from different countries, and everyone has their own idea about what is ‘normal’. It is impressive to behold how all these people exceed their own boundaries to strive for the same goal. A simple example of a cultural differences is how someone from China, who is used to passive learning forms such as lectures, is being uncomfortable with the interactive learning forms we use in our IFMSA training sessions. Then to see someone willing to work on herself changing her own beliefs, and being able to actively take part in the group, is very special. This is just one of the many stunning impressions that will stay with me forever."
Stijntje Dijk – Out of delegation (Supervising Council)
"This was already my 11th GA but by far the best, most smoothly organized and content wise the strongest GA of all. The Supervising council (SupCo), that makes sure that everything within IFMSA is done by the book, usually has to jump into action when things go wrong. As the last SupCo had to run around 24/7 during a GA, this had to be the most peaceful GA for us ever. This was mostly thanks to a strong Organizing Committee in combination with a very experienced and hardworking Executive Board."
This General Assembly was one to remember for a long time and now that we are all back home, it is time to put our newfound knowledge, inspiration, and energy into IFMSA-NL. Because those who are crazy enough to try and change the world are the ones that actually do!