Valence, France - Mars 28 - 31, 2007
The conference on Strategies for Prosthetics and Orthotics Education and Training in Europe took place over four days at the end of March, in Valence. The meeting, organised by ISPO and INTERBOR brought together representatives of various educational institutions (of which the host - ISTM), enterprises, governmental and international organisations. The main focus of the meeting was the standardisation of prosthetics and orthotics at a European level particularly the harmonisation of educational curriculums and professional recognition.
We participated on the behalf of Handicap International to interpret for a Romanian participant, Paul Ciobanel, who is the director of the only school of prosthetics and orthotics in Romania. He didn't speak or understand English and even though we did a lot of preparation, we were still nervous because it was a field we did not know much about, and we were worried that we wouldn't be able to follow some of the more technical discussions. Luckily, once we arrived we found that most of the presentations were not focused on the technical aspects but almost solely on the legal and educational frameworks. The participants were friendly and many of the participants we met offered to explain the general context and any other points we were unclear about in more detail. We mostly worked from English to French, but we were occasionally asked to interpret from French to English to help out some of the francophone participants, for instance during the tour of the school hosting the meeting.
We really enjoyed the experience: meeting new people, discovering the field of prosthetics and orthotics, and visiting Valence. The welcome was excellent, particularly from Isabelle Urseau of Handicap International and Norbert Kieffer, ISTM's director. Being able to facilitate the exchanges really made us feel helpful and appreciated and left us with excellent memories of the event.