The first year of students at BL Malta have completed their first year and entered their 2nd year of studies on the MBBS Medicine course. Naturally, being the first year of students on a new international campus, there were some issues and everything did not go entirely to plan. The fact that many students are unaware about our peers in Malta, what they do and how they’re faring is perhaps an indicator of how much progress there is to be made.
We at BL MESS strongly felt that we could help to make a lasting impact on student experience in Gozo, so when the opportunity arose through Barts and The London Annual Fund we set about the task of building a project for the students of Malta.
Our primary aim was to bring some of the BL family-feeling to Malta by creating avenues for peer communication and learning that at BL we often take for granted. We are privileged as a university to have a historical society that covers all pre-clinical teaching under one roof and nurtures academic collaboration between peers in a way unseen by any other UK medical school. Every 1st year and 2nd year at BL knows that MESS will support them throughout those crucial years whenever they need it and whatever they need it for. In this sense, MESS is ingrained in the BL student experience in a way that often goes unsaid purely because it has become part of the fabric of the medical school.
This year, our aim is to bridge years 1 & 2 in BL Malta both internally, through peer-teaching, and externally, by enabling a line of academic support in the form of BL MESS, as is available to students in London. The result, we hope, would be to increase academic welfare and subsequently all aspects of student welfare within the campus. In addition, the creation of GozoMESS long-term will provide an autonomous source of support run and maintained by BL Malta students with a permanent foundation and link to London that augments those lines of support already in place through the faculty and BLSA. Through experience and resources we were confident BL MESS could achieve this and be part of the process bringing consistency in student experience between BL Malta and BL London. In turn, we also hope this will inspire other societies within Barts to reach out and bridge the gap to Malta. After all - we are all one big BL family.
After leaving Bow at 3am, a 3-hour flight from Gatwick and a 2-hour drive including 40 minutes on the ferry, we arrived 11am in Gozo with our best game-faces and set about getting started. After an extraordinary amount of 3 point turns we found where we were meant to be and started the process of settling in. After an extraordinary amount of 3 point turns we found where we were meant to be and started the process of settling in. What is MESS? While we often ponder our own existence, we ended the day by introducing ourselves to the new freshers in BL Malta as well as some of the returning students, hoping to inspire a fledgling committee into existence on Friday morning. GozoMESS made themselves the very next day, creating a committee tailored to how they thought MESS can work for them. Founding presidents Georgia and Joycee immediately began piecing together meetings, plans, ideas – the feels were extremely real.