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Before: a girl who knew nothing about giving feedback, event planning, or the intricacies of different personality types.

After: an engaged learner who has a better understanding of herself, is super impressed by people who regularly plan events for a living, and knows how to deal with that annoying person in the audience during a presentation.

Lots of people join AIESEC because they want to 1) meet and get to know more people, 2) develop personally and professionally, or 3) do some AIESEC dances! From August 23rd to 25th, a select group of individuals from UBC, SFU, and KPU participated in Train the Trainers.

Train the Trainers (TtT) is a mini conference aimed to train AIESEC members in developing strong training and facilitating skills so they can help their own local AIESEC chapters as well as facilitate at conferences. Unlike many training programs, TtT is truly an engaging and thought-provoking seminar that not only offers you the tools to improve, but also gives you the opportunity to practice using them through interactive activities. You are guaranteed to walk away with something new after attending, whether it is in giving constructive feedback, leading workshops, or just learning about your own strengths and weaknesses you have when presenting.

On the first day, I just made it on time to the conference held at UBC, feeling nervous and unsettled. As a pragmatic person, I decided to apply to attend TtT because I saw the value in being trained and how it would help me improve in future leadership roles. Right before entering the room, it suddenly occurred to me that all the other delegates probably knew each other already and that I probably wouldn’t fit in. I remember thinking to myself, “what the heck was I thinking when I signed up for this?” However, that slight feeling of awkwardness and shyness that was stirring within me immediately dissipated when the students and the organizers of the conference warmly welcomed me into the room. It was at that moment when I became reconnected with the friendliness of AIESECers that exists no matter where we come from and what our backgrounds are like. It was a good feeling.

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After a myriad of icebreakers and some classic AIESEC dancing, we immediately jumped into the treasure trove of learning awaiting us for the next few days. We learned about the “feedback hamburger,” and the four types of colour personalities that exist within each of us. At the end of the first day, the trainers asked us to give them constructive feedback on what happened that day and how they could improve. The next day, the trainers changed the schedule and took the feedback we gave them to include some additional sessions on what we wanted. I was pleasantly surprised by the dedication of the trainers, and how they really took our feedback to heart. I was also happy with the schedule changes and how they executed our ideas so well!

During the rest of the conference, we had an opportunity to learn how to improve ourselves as presenters, take advantage of the setting of the presentation, interact with audience members, and create workshops and an agenda to be followed. These are all skills that I would have never had a chance to learn or improve on in such a structured yet inviting and positive environment with other students. I knew that event planning was difficult, but I never considered what the different components of event planning were and the specific obstacles that event planners must overcome. The whole experience changed my perception of what a conference is like because I now know more about conferences from the perspective of a facilitator instead of a delegate.

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I joined AIESEC because I believed that the organization provides the ideal environment for students to grow and develop personally and professionally, and this conference is the epitome of everything I thought AIESEC was, and more; it was truly a life-changing experience. Was there a lot of material covered? Yes. Did I have to wake up super early to make it in time? Yes. Was I tired after the 3 day conference? Yes. Would I sign myself up and attend TtT again if I had the chance? Yes, and you should too!

By Connie Hsu, Alumni Relations

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