Title: Social Media As A Tool: How Mobile Apps Helped Our Committee Acquire More Outgoings On The Exchange Period.
Authors: Bruna Gomes de Carvalho Muraro; Túlio Loyola Corrêa
Theme: SC SCOPE
As the Exchange Period (EP) arrived, we, Local Exchange Officers (LEOs) noticed that, even though there were plenty of students interested in trying an exchange through IFMSA, few students effectively applied for it. Therefore, we decided to alter our methods of divulgation. In response to that, this year, our University had two times the number of outgoings it had last year.
The strategies used on this EP consisted in four steps. First, the divulgation of the EP through Social Media Platforms, Facebook® and WhatsApp®; Secondly, filling up a GoogleForms® by the students; Thirdly, a meeting with the students; Fourtly, assistance to the students via WhatsApp®.
In the first step, both marketing publication materials and Exchange Conditions were published on a Facebook® Group in which all the University students were in. Another important tool was the WhatsApp® groups, where the LEOs were able to send these materials so them can be accessible easily and quickly by any student.
As we divulgated those materials, we also sent a form via GoogleForms® containing the following questions: “Do you know how Exchange Programs through IFMSA works?”; “Do intend to go on an Exchange?”; “Which countries would you like to go?” and “”Do you have any doubts?”. There were in total twenty-four answers to our form; 75% responded negatively to the question “Do you know how Exchange Programs through IFMSA works?”. The most chosen countries by the students were Portugal, France and Egypt. students pointed out that their doubts concerned particularly about the documentation needed to participate in an IFMSA Exchange.
After this, there was a meeting between the LEOs and the medical students, in which each step of the registration and of the Exchange Conditions was explained and any doubts related to all the steps of EP were clarified. Through the use of a slideshow, we presented reports of outgoings that participated in the exchange program in other EPs with pictures of their trips. Furthermore, we discussed the specific Exchange Conditions of the students intended countries.
The students that attended this meeting were added on a Whatsapp® group, were the LEOs could provide assistance to each step of the EP, remind them of the important deadlines and also clarify any other doubts during the process.
In conclusion, the use of Social Media as a tool of divulgation helped the LEOs identify the main reason why students wouldn’t apply to the EP – which was the fact that they didn’t comprehend all the steps involved in the process; and by that, LEOs were able to assist the students in a way that was easier and quicker. Finally, the result was that in the EP 2020-2021 our University had six outgoings; last EP it had three. We believe that improving our methods every EP is important to make this number even larger every year.