Training for Trainers in Bucharest: A Follow-Up With the Organisers and Participants!

Training for Trainers (T4T) was organised this spring by AEGEE-București and took place from 14th-20th March in București. If you did not have the chance to apply for the event, you can find out in this article what the organisers think of the whole event, what challenges they encountered and how they got along with the participants. We talked to the project coordinator, Bogdan Vișan and the assistant coordinator, Irina Matei. But, we also asked three of the participants, Eva Brieler, Matej Petrov and Francesca Russo to tell us more insights about this event and get a clear idea of how the project went. 

5 [Organisers section] (1)The AEGEEan: First of all, what is your overall impression of the project?

Bogdan & Irina: The project was approached with a degree of challenge from the team but with great responsibility from all. It was a collective effort all in all and could not have been done without the help and motivation of all the team members. On the other hand, there was the trainers’ team, who managed to get every participant involved in the program despite the tight schedule and few hours of sleep. I think everything ended up being great in every aspect and despite not being perfect I can say we remain grateful for this opportunity because we learned a lot from this experience. For the effort, understanding and commitment of all taking part in this amazing project, the overall impression is satisfaction and a little bit of childish joy.

5 [Organisers section] (2)What was the biggest challenge you encountered during the event?

The biggest challenge we encountered during the event was probably right after the trainers arrived in Bucharest and had a chance to talk about some of the matter we could not discuss over conventional communication channels. Having only one day remain until the start of the T4T, we realised that our programs were not syncronized. This meant that we had to change a lot of things last-minute, but, as always, we adapted and we pulled it through.

Also, another big challenge for the organising team happened the day when the participants had to deliver their presentations. At first, it seemed very hard, if not impossible to organise and complete the tasks for the whole day. Nevertheless, it was manageable, but the satisfaction we got from making this project a reality was important to us and to the members of AEGEE-București.

5 [Organisers section] (3)What could you have done differently?

It is almost impossible not to miss things during a project this big, especially when none of the team members ever experienced a T4T project. Considering this, we would have liked to have had a better communication with The Academy and with the trainers in order to get a better vision and structure of what we had to organise throughout the event.

What did you think of the participants?

Ever since the beginning, we were very excited to meet the participants. Having said this, during all our preparations and T4T meetings, all we thought about was how we could do everything so that they feel comfortable, learn everything they need to, eat right, get to know us, our city and also have some fun. According to their feedback, we managed to reach their expectations, and we are very glad we did so, because they were all extraordinary people, joyful and eager to learn. It was a good experience, both for them and for us. We miss them terribly, but we are sure we will meet again somewhere in Europe soon enough, maybe even at our “4 seasons TSU” which we are organising together with AEGEE-Chișinău.

5 [Organisers section] (4)Do you plan to organise a similar event next year?

T4T was indeed a successful project for our antenna and many of the organising team members were motivated to get involved in other local and international projects. Some of them are even planning to coordinate other projects in the future. So, brace yourselves, AEGEE-București has big plans for you!

Now we asked a few questions to three of the participants, Eva Brieler from AEGEE-Bamberg, Matej Petrov from AEGEE-Skopje and Francesca Russo from AEGEE-Padova about the event and what kind of impression it did leave them with.

9 (2) [Participants section]What did you like the most about this event?

Eva: The people, everyone was so super nice and open. The overall atmosphere at the event was amazing and helped to get the most out of the sessions, too. It was so stimulating to see everyone develop and learn.

Matej: This event was a great combination of content and friendship. On one hand the content was something in which we, the participants, were very interested in, and on the other hand we got the chance to really get to know each other and develop great relationships. This possibility to learn something valuable and meet wonderful people at the same time was what I liked the most about this event.

Francesca: The case study! In fact, I learnt how to work with a co-trainer, learnt the theory and to produce games and activities to deliver the perfect training.

9 (3) [Participants section]What was the structure and thematic of the training sessions? 

Eva: Trainings (theory and praxis). The thematic was how to be a trainer: Didactics, How to prepare/deliver/follow-up, tips and tricks.

Matej: The main theme of the whole training was teaching the participants to become trainers. This included developing the attitude of a trainer, as well as formats and ways to design trainings. The structure of the training session was basically learning by doing. This included representing some theory and then doing exercises to practice.

Francesca: All the sessions were done using the non-formal education, so they were with a part of theory and many interactive activities. They covered all the knowledge needed to deliver a training. So, there were for instance, the training style, the training delivering and our path as trainers. Then we had the case study: everyday a few hours to prepare our final training performance to be delivered for local students.

9 (4) [Participants section]What did you think of the trainers? What about the organisers?

Eva: The trainers were all very competent in their fields. The content was delivered clearly and we had a lot of fun during the training, too. The trainers were very motivating and supportive. They made a good team!! The organisers were always very helpful and attentive. Whenever we needed something, they would make sure we got it. They were all very dedicated to the project.

Matej: Lovely, lovely people! Both the trainers and the organisers. My general impression is the following: the trainers were very competent and did an amazing job in organising all the sessions, it is even more impressive how they managed to accomplish this if you take the tight schedule in consideration. The content of the session was very broad, interesting, helpful and applicable. The organisers were some of the kindest people I have ever met, always attentive and ready to assist us for everything we needed. They were also very patient with us, sometimes we were a difficult group to control, so I am appreciating this very much.

Francesca: The trainers were prepared and rich in useful suggestions while organisers were always very kind and ready to help us.

9 (5) [Participants section]How was the social program? What kind of parties did you have? 

Eva: The social program was a bit in the background as there were many training sessions. So we went to bars to have a drink. Of course, there was a European Night and a goodbye party with karaoke.

Matej: This was an event where the social program was not the priority, the focus was always more on the training sessions. However, it is my opinion that the organisers managed to organise great things for us to do after we have finished with all the sessions. We had the chance to see the night life of Bucharest by visiting local pubs, taste traditional Romanian food by visiting a local traditional restaurant, watching (and laughing about) a Romanian comedy movie, and singing in a local karaoke bar. As you can see, it was not bad at all. [he smiles]

9 (6) [Participants section]Francesca: We did not have an intense social program, because we did have to be awake for the morning sessions and sometimes we did have some evening sessions, too. We had a traditional food night in a characteristic pub, a EU night, a karaoke night and a romanian movie night.

Do you plan to participate in a similar event next year?

Eva: I would like that. So far, I have no plans for next year, it seems too far away. But the event was really amazing, so I can only recommend taking part in it and I would love to be a part of something similar again, too.

Matej: As I mentioned, I love this combination of being able to learn something new for a topic which I am interested in and get to do it while meeting and hanging out with new, kind people. Having said this, I will definitely consider participating in a similar event.

Francesca: Hopefully, as a trainer!

Written by Gabriela Geană, AEGEE-București