When ECPTS (European Confederation For Physical Therapy Students) first received an invitation from the International Physiotherapy Students Meeting (IPSM) committee to present at the event, we jumped at the opportunity. The event which took place on the 25th to the 28th April is the biggest international physiotherapy students meeting in Europe. The event attracted one hundred and seventy physiotherapy students from fourteen different countries. The two day event which was held in Albufeira Portugal, boasted an exciting and interesting programme of lectures and interactive workshops. Lectures delivered by guest speakers in the neuromusuculoskeletal field of physiotherapy provided excellent opportunities to learn about different concepts and theories. One of the aims of the IPSM committee was to create an event that encouraged collaboration and integration of students. The congress did just this and harnessed students’ abilities to teach and learn from each other. This was successfully demonstrated in the interactive workshops which served to cement the students’ learning from the lectures.
It was at this event that ECPTS once again worked exceptionally hard spreading ECPTS’ energy and enthusiasm amongst students and lecturers. From the word “Go”, ECPTS members got straight into the spirit of the congress introducing and discussing with students the many opportunities and help that ECPTS could offer. The congress kicked off with a thirty minute interactive presentation by the vice president in which ECPTS was introduced to the congress. During the presentation, students were invited and encouraged to chat with ECPTS members and they did just that. Following the days of the congress, the interest from students exploded with questions being asked day and night. However learning from the students of the congress was just as important to ECPTS. Since ECPTS aims to provide information about student experiences so that other students may benefit from this, stories and tales from students were collected. This gave an insight into just how many students had been to another country in Europe to study physiotherapy. Moreover there were even more students who were contemplating doing an ERASMUS exchange. Many students expressed a need for information about the country they wished to visit and agreed that having information from the student perspective would be hugely valuable. Not only was the education experience important but so was the knowledge of the opportunities available once graduating. Such comments and discussions highlighted how important the availability of information regarding educational and job opportunities were to students. The existence for an organisation like ECPTS who aims to provide this sort of information to physiotherapy students was reinforced throughout the entire congress.
IPSM was as much of a success for ECPTS as it was for the organisers of the event. The encouragement of students to integrate provided a great means for ECPTS to reach many students. In addition this created a feel good atmosphere throughout the entire congress and contributed to the successful learning of new concepts as well as from each other. Congresses such as these should continue to exist as they provide a wealth of information for students to help them grow and develop. Furthermore, they are hugely inspiring and demonstrate the great things that students are capable of which are worthy of celebrating. ECPTS thoroughly enjoyed being present and is very thankful to the IPSM committee for the invitation and can only hope that it continues to run in the coming years.