The first UNAEE event of 2019 took place in Nevers, France, in March!
But first, what’s UNAEE?
UNAEE is the National Association of French OT students. Its main goals are to defend French OT student’s rights and interests, to represent them within deciding bodies of the institutions and give them opportunities in order to make the most out of their studies. The UNAEE was also created to build a network between the OT students from the various institutes in France. That is why we organize yearly events gathering OT students from all over the country!
So what was this event?
During a rainy March weekend, our “Week-end de formation” or “WEF” took place in Nevers. It gathered about 170 students from all over France. The weekend’s theme was voted by the students via Facebook and they chose “Occupational therapy and mental health”.
What happened during the WEF?
The weekend started off with the UNAEE’s general assembly where the UNAEE board members presented their current projects.
After a very amusing laughter yoga collective session, the workshops began. On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, the students participated in a series of workshops and lectures touching on “OT and mental health”, but also about opportunities that are available to them and their rights as OT students. For example, some OT professionals came to talk to us about working as an OT in a prison setting, the OT intervention with patients on the autism spectrum or suffering from addictions, mindfulness and OT, etc.
Students from other health care professions also came to exchange on the importance of interdisciplinary work when caring for patients suffering from mental health issues. Students could also participate in workshops such as “How to organize an event?”, “How to bring sustainable development to your institute?” and “How to build an international solidarity project?”.
I got the chance to lead a workshop to promote international mobility and had some of my fellow students testify about some of their experiences abroad and we answered the student’s questions. Camille talked about her 2 months placement experience in Quebec, Canada whereas Margot shared with us her experience at the ENOTHE annual event in Portugal. She and François presented their adventure in Madagascar as members of the 2018 PSIEE (the UNAEE’s international solidarity project). I was also able to promote SPOT and the mini SPOT concept. I really wanted to show the many ways in which experiencing internationalization is possible.
To top it off, we all got to celebrate and have fun Saturday night all dressed up and colorful in our 80s inspired outfits!
All in all, the best part of the week-end is being able to witness the French OT student network come to life thanks to new encounters as well as being reunited with friends you’ve met during previous UNAEE events!
2ndyear OT student in Lille, France