Why on earth would a final year MPharm student go to Serbia for a week in the middle of term?
I figured it was about time that I decided what the European Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (EPSA) was really about, so I flew out to Eastern Europe at the end of October to attend EPSA’s 15th Autumn Assembly.
What did you do there?
As an official delegate for BPSA, I spent the majority of my time in general assembly, the highest decision making body in EPSA. Here, I discussed motions with 45 other member associations and voted on issues such as the requirements for associations to have official delegates sit at general assembly or EPSA becoming more environmentally friendly.
What did you learn?
During General Assembly I learnt more about how EPSA runs and what they have to offer pharmacy students. The association strives to offer work opportunities and events across the continent, so students are enabled to gain critical skills as a pharmacist whilst interacting with international peers. I also attended symposia to hear key experts in the field talk about their work in clinical trials including topics such as pharmacovigilance.
Parallel sessions were run alongside general assembly, where some students were able to take part in trainings, workshops or other events such as the science excursion. These sessions focussed on soft skills such as leadership or communication in a more laid back atmosphere.
What else did you get up to?
The social events are equally as important- during the nights I got to know the EPSA executive and learn how they work on supporting their members throughout the year. There is one night dedicated to the host country and I got to watch classic Serbian dances and taste the local cuisine. I also became friends with the Slovenians who told me that hospital pharmacy is an extremely rare career for pharmacists in their country, and I ran away from the Irish that had a water gun filled with whisky.
Why should I go?
Students can gain invaluable experience from taking advantage of what associations like EPSA and BPSA have to offer and attending events like these. I’ve created a huge network of like-minded students from 37 different countries, made friends for life and gained a new perspective on the importance of pharmacy on an international level.
This article was written by Lauren McGrail