For yet another year, students and mentors from the Mentorship Support for Roma Students Enrolled in Medical Studies program came together to expand their network of contacts, knowledge and experience in communication, self-care and teamwork.
Thanks to previous meetings, teamwork on small projects and online gatherings with participants in previous years, some of the students knew each other and this became a meeting with old friends while the previous year's new scholars got the opportunity to join this circle of contacts and support in person. Participants wrote prescriptions for success in university life and beyond, with guidance for all young people anticipating going to university. We will share the contents the prescriptions themselves in a separate text.
Dr. Gergana Foreva from the Bulgarian Balint Society was our guest for an introduction to the Balint approach and a demonstration of the work of the Balint groups as a method of assisting professionals from the so-called helping professions to increase sensitivity to the way a patient experiences their problem. Group work improves participants' therapeutic skills and an additional benefit is that the participants become more self-aware and feel supported in the prevention of professional burnout.
At various points in our two-day meeting, participants practiced approaches to nonviolent communication, teamwork, fulfilling work, and supporting those they work with.
We also added an inspiring conversation with journalist Violeta Draganova, who talked about her time as a journalist at BNT and host of the public television's morning block in the early 2000s. She talked about her path in Bulgarian public life and in this context, talked about the effort she made as a young professional of Roma origin to get to know herself and create the right worldview to help her pursue her goals with ambition, focus and awareness of her identity.
We closed the meeting with a conversation about the future and ways for participants to get the most out of their time in the program, along with wishes for more frequent meetings, activity and success both in the field among Roma communities and at the university.