What I did
I was one of the few fortunate students who was elected as a volunteer for the 78th FIP world congress in Glasgow 2018.
I started my volunteering a few days before the event, along with other student volunteers from all over UK, where we were split into different working areas. These included FIP booth, press and speaker room, accreditation and registration, and poster session. On the first two days we helped set up the exhibition hall, work stations, equipment and helped pack badges.
I was part of the accreditation and registration group for the duration of the congress. My role consisted of handing out evaluation forms, recording any filled-out forms on excel and answering any questions regarding accreditation. I also helped at the registration desk, helping participants collect their membership badges, handing out programmes and helping with any other general enquiries.
What I learnt
Through this congress I was able to speak to many different pharmacists from countries all over. I learnt about the differences in pharmacy practice in other countries and the issues they are facing. I particularly remember speaking to a community pharmacist from the Netherlands who was in the process of developing an innovative app which acts as an official group chat for pharmacists to post about any queries regarding practice or helpful tips, which I found very innovative.
As well as networking at the congress my fellow volunteers and I were invited to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) reception at the Riverside Transport Museum. It was a great event, giving us the opportunity to network and speak to some incredibly important people such as Ash Soni and Paul Bennett, the president and CEO of the RPS.
My favourite part of the congress was the closing dinner. Everyone was enjoying their time after a long week, with good food and drinks. It was also great to show people ceilidh dances and how Scottish people have fun. Singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ at the end of the night was an emotional way to round off a successful week.
What I gained
This week opened my eyes to a whole new world of pharmacy, one that feels like a tight-knit community. It was heart-warming to see so many old friends greet each other and it was apparent how passionate everyone is about pharmacy.
Even though I came to this event to develop my pharmacy practice and networking skills, I feel I have made some incredible friends and unforgettable memories. Having learnt so much about my future profession and meeting the people behind the societies and organisations, I have come away feeling inspired and motivated. I would highly encourage students to take part in next year’s congress in Abu Dhabi and I definitely see myself coming back to the congress as an FIP member in the future.