The last weekend of October, a group of active members of Erasmus Student Network Czech Republic met together in East Bohemia at the occasion of participating in the great event TRAIN IT! It is an educational event organized for the members of our network.
The event started back in 2014. At that time, no one had a clue, that four years later we will hold its 7th edition. Usually, TRAIN IT! is being organized two times a year, once in the fall semester and once in the spring semester. This year, we organized an extraordinary summer edition in a camping environment.
Every event has two tracks participants can choose from. The networking part of the event, such as Friday’s teambuilding games and Saturday’s evening programme, is organised for all participants together of course, but the main educational part divides ESNers into two groups. Every track has two facilitators who are responsible for the agenda. We educate ourselves to be better leaders, we learn how to face problems and how to solve them better and we improve ourselves.
This 7th edition started with teambuilding activities on Friday afternoon. It is important for setting up the mood and for creating safe space so that the participants feel comfortable with each other when sharing their experiences. After a series of ice-breaking games, a team challenge came. Each team had several tasks and challenges that they had to fulfil. Origami folding, human statues or carrying a ball in the group without dropping it on the ground were just some of many. Exceptional team building activity took place in the fall edition of TRAIN IT! Yes, you were right, the participants had a chance to carve pumpkins. Everyone was very surprised how catchy this activity was and how creative some people can be. At the end, images like bears, pumpkin prison or Game of Thrones‘ castles with dragons appeared.
Saturday wasn’t filled with games, but with knowledge. Right after the breakfast participants divided into their tracks and began the most important part of this event - the blocks of non-formal education.
First track ESN bubble vs. real world aimed at problem-solving process and practice. We learned what we can take from our ESN career and how to apply it in our future lives. It focused on the transition from the students‘ life to a life with a successful career. Our facilitators shared the most common issues managers face and how to avoid them. Participants tried first hand how to solve important situations. Even though the track mainly focused on the discussion so people could take out many tips. They took an important tool as well, with which they can solve a problem not only in career life but also in the personal one.
Second track´s topic was Work-Life Balance. The participants thought a lot about their busy and quick lifestyle and they tried to find how they could manage the rhythm of their lives better. Facilitators advised participants how to find time for the important stuff and hobbies in their busy schedule. Attendants had the time to sort out their priorities and learn how to organise their time better. Among other things, the 4Fs feedback form (fact, feelings, finding, future) had been introduced to them and after the theory of assertiveness, they learned how to say no and how to fight various types of manipulation.
The tracks were held by Markéta Bělíková, David Kratochvíl, Markéta Pešoutová and Kristýna Jurošková, a mix of experienced ESNers and professional experienced people from the field of psychology and education. All 24 participants attended two tracks, 10 hours of intensive workshops in two days.
For the first time, the event was financially supported by a grant from ESAA (Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association). Thanks for the support, we were able to afford the better quality of the event and we could provide a better environment and material support for the participants.
The weekend was very motivational and inspirational for everyone. Participants are ready to apply all that they have learned during the event in the upcoming days not only in ESN but also in their personal lives.
"If you like personal development, non-formal education and ESN, TRAIN IT! is the best event you can attend and the best way to combine all of it into one weekend. It was great to make some time for ourselves in the busy lives that we all, volunteers, have. During this weekend in Nekoř, I had enough time and space to prioritize my life goals and to be able to relax." - Martin Zapletal
"TRAIN IT! is something that I always look forward to. Although I have quite a lot of opportunities to take part in various discussions and workshops, I prefer spending the whole weekend working with one particular subject and taking a closer look at it and, from different angles. It helps me sort out ideas related to this topic. With a smaller number of participants, trainers have more room for individual approach and a good level of preparation makes it possible to modify the content of workshops to a certain extent according to current needs. Compared to other events I go through, TRAIN IT! has a very specific, individual and open atmosphere, which I will gladly take part in again." - Václav Kutiš
Authors: Tereza Kadlecová, Zděnek Hanzal a Monika Lazarová