From the 10th of March to the 1st of April, a training for trainers on the topic of LGBTQI+ Community & Youth took place. Over the course of a few weeks, in the online environment, ESN volunteers had the opportunity to learn about the challenges that LGBTQI+ students and youth face and how they can build LGBTQI+ friendly organisations that contribute to the creation of more inclusive international communities. 

As part of a training cycle on the topic of inclusion of LGBTQI+ students and youth, supported by the Council of Europe’s European Youth Foundation, LGBTQI+ Community & Youth was a basic training for trainers on the topic of the LGBTQI+ where the participants were better acquainted with the main challenges that the LGBTQI+ students and youth face in the context of identity, sexuality, language and culture in society. Participants learned more about the history of the LGBTQI+ community, political and social movements and rights of the LGBTQI community in various European countries, as well as reflected on how ESN can better support LGBTQI+ students and youth in the context of activities for international students and youth already implemented in local communities.

"Eduk8 Starter gave me the opportunity to refine my skill set and learn the foundational steps to designing a workshop. However, the best part was definitely getting to spend the last 3 days with so many lovely people and learning about how the Starter topic affects their country or National Organisation. This knowledge and the connections I made will definitely stay with me for many training events to come." - Iona Murdoch, ESN UK

The topic of LGBTQI+ and how we, as ESN, can better support LGBTQI+ students and youth while they are on their mobility period is fairly new to us. We always try to improve how we interact with the local and international students, as well as contribute to an intercultural, inclusive and peaceful society, and we are extremely excited to learn new methods and practices we can implement in activities for students on the local level, based on the needs and experiences of the members of the LGBTQI+ community. This will also undoubtedly make our organisation more inclusive and LGBTQI+ friendly internally.

"Having already delivered some workshops, attending LGBTQI+ Community and Youth was something that I was really looking forward to. Taking part in it felt like everything was falling into place, like connecting the dots between the experience I had and the knowledge I needed. For me, the magic of the LGBTQI+ Community and Youth was this roller coaster of moments passing on from a safe space to uncharted areas full of challenges, aha moments and new perspectives. At the end of the event, every piece of information we took, every session we had just made sense by completing this learning cycle. And while this may be over, what I keep is that you can never stop learning as long as you choose to do so." - Alkistis Athanasopoulou, ESN Greece

In order to share the knowledge gained at the training with their local organisations and students, participants learned how to design, implement and evaluate quality workshops and short training sessions on the topic of inclusion of LGTBQI+ students and youth. ESN, as an international organisation that works with people coming from various cultural and religious backgrounds and who come from countries that have vastly different attitudes towards the topic of LGBTQI+ that further shape the opinions of young people, has been enriched by volunteers who have developed general facilitation competencies and can act as leaders and ambassadors in their local communities, reaching different groups, building capacity and creating a safe environment for international students and youth, for which they organise activities and provide service to on a daily basis, as well as contribute to building more inclusive international communities taking into consideration the needs of the LGBTQI+ students and youth.

The participants are encouraged and will be given the opportunity to facilitate sessions for their volunteers, local and international students in their local communities, either virtually or physically if the circumstances allow. 

"Facilitation was something that I was usually running away from but now, thanks to Eduk8 Starter, it has become something I started running towards. Eduk8 helped me build the perfect foundation for my facilitation and training path, every little piece of information we got felt like adding a strong brick to it. It was a really interesting training, which I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend and I’m looking forward to implementing everything I’ve learned." - Paula Pop, ESN Romania