Recently Ternopil State Medical University student Taras Moroz had the opportunity to study organization and functioning of student government at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Canada. This Canadian University has been Ternopil State Medical University cooperation partner for over three years.
“We were able to learn about student government at McEwan University thanks to the invitation of its president, Dr. David Atkinson. On this visit with me were two other students from Ukrainian partner universities: Zaryna Halimon (student of the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”) and Mykhailo Shalemba (student of Ukrainian Catholic University).
My first impression was that everyone involved in student government is a real expert. If a student wants to fulfill this service option, they take a leave from classes for the time they are serving. They treat student government position like employment. It is a professional structure with a large budget and staff. In Ukraine, student government positions are largely volunteer “- said Taras Moroz.
He added that visits like this one play an important role in expanding one’s horizons and gaining new experiences.
“Students come up with new projects, suggest ideas and coordinate. But much of the implementation is done by professionals employed by the student government. Thus, ours and their governments face very different problems in their work. Particularly interesting for me was the interaction of student organizations with authorities. We had the opportunity to talk with Alberta Minister of Education and with a city council deputy. In Canada, student opinion is respected. Accordingly, young people have a real opportunity to lobby for their interests. Their ideas can become a basis for new laws. For example, these days the students are lobbying for paid internships. They have shown that paid interns are more efficient than unpaid ones. Incidentally, SAMU (Student’s Association of McEwan University) is a very influential organization in in city, not to mention the university, “- shared his impressions Taras Moroz.
He noted that we can borrow experience of implementing several Canadian projects, for instance one addressing mental health. This project offers psychological assistance to students, and involves student volunteers and professional psychologists. They help students who have psychological problems. Taras Moroz noted that in Canada good mental health receives much attention.
He said that he will continue to work with TSMU’s Student Council. Earlier this year, the council elected new board.
Taras thanked rector of Ternopil State Medical University, Professor Mykhaylo Korda, President of McEwan University David Atkinson, project manager of the Center for Ukrainian Resources and Development of McEwan University Yurii Konkin, TSMU project manager Inna Birchenko, and Student’s Association of McEwan University for their help organizing this trip, which allowed him to gain valuable international experience.
Financial assistance for the visit was provided by McEwan University and Ukrainian diaspora organizations in Canada.