Posted by Hollie Kluczewski

Tue, 20 Mar 2012

Hollie is intercalating in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research at LSHTM. Ex-national coordinator of Sexpression:UK, current transnational project coordinator of SHAPE, Policy and Advocacy assistant to SCORA. Contact her on

Day 5 in the Big Brother Hotel has been what I’d call the calm after the storm, a time to reflect on the mania of what’s come before. I feel like I’m finally playing with the big boys (and just about managing to keep up) but how did I manage that?
If I’m honest I came to the GA highly daunted. Medical students are high enough achievers to begin with, then add on the fact that these guys have been selected to represent their countries internationally and my mind instantly created an intimidating tribe in which everyone exudes a slightly golden glow, is creating world peace and in their spare time modelling fair trade clothing.

But I’m here and I’m hanging out with these guys, so how is it that I’ve managed to find my voice amongst these demi-gods? Well there are two sides to that story, and the first one is that rather obviously these students are just like me, the intimidation I felt before I arrived melted away as soon as I sat down in the first session. Please don’t misunderstand me; people here are just as impressive and knowledgeable as you’d think but in actual fact that leads to inclusivity, because the most impressive thing about the delegates here is their eagerness to listen. There’s a positive hum and it’s buzzing about the youth voice, and that means everyone wants to hear what you have you to say, they want to know your opinions, how our education system works, how we advocate, what Sexpression does and they want to know how to do it too.

The second side of the story is a personal one, (if you’re worried this might be turning into a reflective account I’m afraid you might be right!) all the things I’ve done with Sexpression and Medsin have been because I’ve loved doing them, and throughout my time at med school and on my worldly jaunts I’ve met some inspirational people with a bustling passion which I’m glad I had no choice in catching. A passion for global health, for reproductive rights, for real equity across the board and so at any point when I’ve had to force myself to overcome any insecure self-doubt in order to step up, I’ve managed to do it because of those issues and my belief in there being a solution.

So I followed my feet as they marched me to Ghana, and I’m glad I did because whilst the IFMSA is certainly no utopia of global health, it is a platform that is rammed to the rafters full of potential and my input was valuable, my voice was heard and more than that I listened to what hundreds of medical students from all over the world had to say. My final hopes are that more and more people start listening too, after all we’re saying some pretty worth-while stuff!
p.s. When do I get my golden glow?

Hollie is a fourth year medical student at Newcastle University and is currently National Coordinator of Sexpression:UK (one of Medsin’s activities). In this role, she is also the National Officer on Reproductive Health & AIDS for the IFMSA.

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