Get To Know Your Causes – Learning about key themes
Within the frame of this ESAA-project, 30 volunteers gathered in Leeds, United Kingdom between the time of the 31st of January and 2nd February 2020 to learn about the five causes of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), partner organisation of ESAA.
We as a network believe that the five causes of ESN have the utmost importance. The three chosen topics were Social Inclusion, Health & Wellbeing and Education & Advocacy. The weekend consisted of a variety of workshops, presentations, and interactive sessions during which the participants were able to learn more about these topics and also share their views about how we can promote these causes in our local communities. The participants also had a chance to network with like-minded people and develop relationships which will carry into the future.
Participants who arrived early had the chance to participate in an Erasmus In Schools-activity where they were able to share their culture and other facts about their countries with a group of exchange students. The first evening of the event was focused on team building. We wanted the participants to be able to get to know each other so that they would feel comfortable opening up and sharing with each other. This was particularly important because one of the sessions was focused on mental health which can be a sensitive topic to discuss.
The second day of the event was spent learning about what each of the five causes was, and why it was of importance. This was done in an interactive session. The participants were split up into small groups of five and then rotated around each cause. They had a chance to discuss amongst themselves about each cause and form their own opinions with input from the trainers. We then came together as a larger group to share what we thought the key takeaways were and for participants to share anything that they thought would be interesting to the wider group.
The afternoon was spent in two workshops of two hours each. The first was a workshop surrounding mental health and how not taking care of your mental health can affect your day to day life. We received a lot of positive feedback from this workshop as the trainer had had previous experiences dealing with mental health which she had overcome, the workshop was very open and many participants felt comfortable sharing their own experiences too.
The second workshop was surrounding social inclusion. The participants participated in a privilege walk with a discussion afterwards about how the walk made them feel. After this, the participants were split into groups and each group had to plan an activity for a different cause which they then presented back to everyone.
The second day we started early with an informative presentation and open discussion on the International Erasmus Games. This was then followed by a session where participants had an opportunity to write detailed action plans with the support of the trainers. This was then followed by an in-depth session on what the Erasmus in Schools project is, how to plan an Erasmus in Schools activity and the challenges that one could face when implementing an activity of this type. This was followed by an interactive Education and Advocacy workshop. We then had a reflection and appreciation session which constituted the end of our weekend where participants wrote positive things about each other.
We have encouraged participants to share their knowledge with their local communities and we hope that we will see them implementing what they have learnt during this weekend. We thank ESAA for supporting us in providing this weekend.
Edited by Service Provider