EBMR ARTICLE – November 2014

If you attended the Betapsi Psyched Live In or the Fresher’s Week information session, watched our EFPSA vlogs, read my EFPSA blogposts or just had a casual conversation with me, then you already know how enthusiastic about it I am. But for those of you that do not know me, my name is Clara Chetcuti and I am an EFPSA Addict. Jokes aside, I am currently the Member Representative of Malta in the European Federation of Psychology Students Associations (EFPSA) for the present mandate.

I have been involved in EFPSA as a Member Representative, since the last Congress in Romania. It has been a little over 6 months now, which is relatively, a very short period of time. However, getting involved has honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It all started with EFPSA Day 2013 in Malta, the Betapsi EGM where I was elected International Officer, followed by the 28th EFPSA Congress in Romania, continued with lots of Skype Meetings from Malta and last but not least the Joint Executive Board and Member Representative Meeting (EB&MR Meeting) in Serbia this October.

The EB&MR Meeting marks the middle of the EFPSA mandate. For many of the teams, it’s the first time since they have all gathered in person after the Congress in Romania.The warmest of hugs were exchanged in the heart of Belgrade where a group of approximately 70 reunited EFPSANS boarded the EFPSA Bus – the prestigious vessel carrying 80 over excited, precious psychology students to Goč Mountain. The 5 hour trip up the mountain didn’t seem so long when shared with such an interesting group of individuals and a nap or two – because if I’m in a moving vehicle, I am bound to doze off.

To our surprise, the beautiful mountain was decorated with a thick layer of glistening snow! I hadn’t seen snow in four years so I could not contain my excitement in any way! Obviously many snowball fights took place throughout the week and as I stepped out the EFPSA-mobile a snowball welcomed my face to Dobre Vode Hotel (thanks Dide ;)).
And so the week in Serbia began. A team building session and a welcome party introduced us to the people we would be sharing this experience with. We busted our lungs out singing karaoke and then we headed to bed to get some sleep before our week of hard work began.

The Opening Ceremony and the Mandate Kick Off were two beautifully put together presentations delivered by all the members of the Board of Management (BM) and Executive Board (EB). Throughout, the members of these teams presented all their work to the participants of the meeting. After the presentations and getting motivation and inspiration from one another, the teams all gathered to begin their work together.

Throughout the week, various workshops such as, the EFPSA Day, EFPSA Promotion Workshop and Finance Workshops, took place.

Presentations were also delivered by the Social Impact Initiative Team (SII), Junior Researcher Programme (JRP) and Journal of European Psychology Students (JEPS), as well as a presentation on Open Access.

The Training Office were also kind enough to deliver two workshops on Motivation and Presentation Skills, both of which were perfect for personal growth and improvement.

My personal favourite workshop was the Podio Workshop organised by the Marketing Office who did a great job at making a Podio tutorial fun! For those of you that don’t know what Podio is, according to our wonderful EFPSA President Mariyan Vasev,

Podio is like Facebook without having your mom on it

Or alternatively, according to my team, The Sleepless Dragons,
Podio is to EFPSANS what cold pizza is to normal people – if you’re hungry you will eat it

A Vernissage was also organised for the Member Representatives, here all the teams involved in EFPSA’s Executive Board presented all the work that has been manifested throughout the past 6 months to us MRs and to one another. The Vernissage is the perfect opportunity for everyone to showcase their hard work. It gives the participants the opportunity to ask questions, gather information and opinions and provide support and encouragement.

Another wonderful idea that our MOC Team came up with was the concept of Open Space Technology. During this 5 hour session, we were able to come up with a subject topic and choose to float around groups and contribute to the conversations within them.

Of course, two General Assemblies (GA) were held at the EB&MR Meeting. During these meetings, the Member Representatives were required to vote on very important decisions that contributed to EFPSA’s structure, events & services. Additionally, in order to be prepared for the meetings, we were presented with the proposals at a pre-GA gathering, during which we were allocated time to ask questions and have discussions.

The Excursion Day is one which we all were greatly looking forward to in order to spend some quality time together sans meetings. We were taken to a beautiful monastery and we were also given some free time in Kraljevo, where we got to explore the city and have some great cocktails together!

Other social activities were the Cultural Evening where the countries exchanged typical local food and drinks, the Serbian Night where a group of young children played some lovely typical Serbian music, the Games Board Night which turned into a hilarious karaoke and charades session and the Farewell Party – a wonderful bonfire, around which we all gathered, sang songs and drank warm drinks (writing goodbye (see you soon) letters and trying not to cry followed).

To sum it all up, the week in Serbia was a very emotional week, full of meetings, work, fun, smiles, hugs, tears and undoubtedly, lacking sleep. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Serbian Organising Committee who did a wonderful job at catering to all our difficult needs! I would like to thank the Board of Management and Executive Board for their constant hard work and always listening to our opinions, answering our queries, accepting our criticism and acknowledging our suggestions. You guys always did your best to fulfil our requests. Last but not least, I would like to thank the MR and MOC Team for providing me with yet another week of unforgettable memories! Throughout the week, not only did you provide me with laughs and smiles but you helped me grow as a person. Moreover, I learnt that even though we are all miles away, we are still always there for one another, no matter what we’re going through in our personal lives. I have truly formed long distance friendships with you! I miss you guys.

And of course, I thank you, the reader for being interested enough in my ramblings to be reading these last two sentences. I look forward to seeing you on EFPSA Day where you too could start your EFPSA journey!

Clara Chetcuti (International Officer)

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