We interview Marija Taneska , Macedonian Head of organization committee for the exchange between Macedonia and Malta in 2018 , and current President of PSA PSIHESKO. The exchange is supported by EFPSA STA service, read on the full experience for the Macedonian part of the exchange in November 2018 !
- Short description of the exchange
The exchange was a definitely a challenging, but an instructive and rewarding experience. We gave our best for the students from Malta to get familiar with our country from every aspect possible and also to expand their knowledge on the topic “Self confidence and self-esteem”. For that purpose we organized two lectures, one workshop and one training in our university. The lecture named “Development of self-esteem” was held by PHD professor Ana Frichand and the lecture on “Public speech” was held by Ana Trpeska, student of gestalt psychotherapy. The workshop named “Self-esteem : through the contact cycle to a new persona “was held by Ena Canevska, Bachelor of Psychology, and Tiana Ivanoska- EFPSA trainer held a training on self-esteem. The students had also the opportunity to attend our annual event “Psiheskop” and listen to the two English lectures on “Misuse of psychological tests on internet” held by psychologist Goce Arsovski and “Psychological tricks in development of mobile applications” held by developer Aleksandar Bojkovski. The students were also part of this year’s EFPSA day which brought a new touch of diversity to the event. Regarding the social programme and the non-academic activities, the students had the opportunity to visit Ohrid and have a tour around the beautiful city laying on the bay of the oldest lake in Europe- Ohrid Lake with a personal guide. The students had a walking tour around Skopje-the capital of Macedonia, visited the museum of The Macedonian Revolution, The museum of illusions and had a picnic on the Vodno Mountain where the Millennium Cross is located. We organized cultural evening to introduce the students to the Macedonian traditional cuisine, they had a chance to visit Skopje City Mall where they went shopping and bowling and the last night we organized a dinner in a traditional Macedonian restaurant. All in all it was a dynamic week filled with fun events and experiences for both Macedonian and Maltese students.
- Funniest moment at the exchange 🙂
There were a lot of funny moments during the exchange but I would pick the love-hate moment the students had with the snow on Vodno Mountain. At first they were impressed and happy that it is snowing but after half an hour they couldn’t feel their bodies from the cold since they are used to the hot Maltese weather.
- Some challenges that occurred and how you managed them
One of the biggest challenges we had was the tight budged we had and some unexpected expenses that came out in the last moment. In order to manage this we had reorganize the whole financial plan, make some cut –offs in the budged and change some parts of the agenda while being careful that the participants had the experience they were expecting. The other challenge I would say was the inclusion of our members in the activities that were part of the exchange since it was a week after the exams and after our annual event and our students were really tired. We managed to have somebody accompanying the students all the time but we really had to make extra efforts to find people available taking into consideration the academic period when the exchange was taking place.
- Tips and tricks for future org coms
I would say: be creative, flexible and open to challenges. Organizing an exchange is quite a big bite for students and first make sure you have good fundamental bases for organizing it which means: enough time, energy, human resources, finances and support from your university or other institutions. Try to make a good strategic plan, including all the possible obstacles that can occur along the way considering your specific context. Each country has its own challenges. Do not forget to communicate with EFPSA STA for every advice you might need. Also, be in a constant communication with the coordinator from the other country, make sure you are clear with all the expectations and/or specific needs of the students coming to your country but also communicate expectations and needs from your students. Make sure you get the important things right: dates of the exchange and the weather conditions, accommodation, food preferences, transport in the city and to/from the airport. Make the agenda at least two months before the exchange and send it to the coordinator of the other country so if there is anything wrong you will have enough time to make the proper changes. Gather an org com that is ready to take the responsibility and are aware of the specificity of their role. Make a fair redistribution of the responsibilities. During the exchange make sure you are always informed of every issue that might occur and be flexible to solve it right away. Be responsive to the needs of the participants and don’t panic if something unexpected happens. And of course don’t forget to have fun, make friends and enjoy!