As a newbie ESNer, I didn’t know anything about Eduk8. It took until NP Otaniemi (autumn 2015), when Lucas Opperman and Stanislav Staněk held a presentation plus that I also approached them with my questions, that I finally understood it better. Non-formal education, learning from each other, developing soft skills, and better understanding ourselves, some key words that really spoke to me.

To be honest, I was hooked! I wanted to do it all, straight away. The application round for Eduk8 Starter Timisoara opened. I applied. I wasn’t among the 40 people that were accepted. Luckily for me, there was a late cancellation which gave me a spot. The training was mainly focused on how to deliver workshops, what to think about during planning and implementing, how to create engagement etc. There were some intensive days, I learned a lot, and started my journey to become a trainer. I got endorsed as a Eduk8er.

Participants of Eduk8 Novara in front of old building with terracotta-coloured walls

Last summer, it broke my heart that I couldn’t attend Forward Batumi, Georgia. But I kept myself busy, worked on my path, delivered workshops at NPs, training days, teambuilding days and similar settings. Now I know that an extra year did me good to get more experience and to finish some personal processes. Once the application opened this spring, I talked with my boss who promised work would work out (big thanks for the support to my best friend! <3 ), wrote the application and submitted it. The waiting for the email felt like forever! But once it arrived, it brought the good news!

And the weeks flew by. Suddenly it was time to prepare to leave. I had left many things for last minute, preparing my Board, and above all, my Vice-President to deal with being without me for 11 days just before the semester is starting. During the trip to Italy, with layovers, delays and missed busses, my mind was still in Vaasa, thousands of kilometers away.

Luckily, the trainers had planned a great program. They created a safe space within the training room, with activities that were provoking thoughts and triggering emotions. But above all spoke for being present, questioning, being responsible, and taking initiative.

Way too much happened during these 9 days for me to be able to get it down into one normal-ish length blogpost. I have grown more as a human, I have learned things about myself I didn’t know before. I have had the privilege of sharing this journey of 19 other beautiful individuals, being a part of their ups and downs, having discussions on anything and everything between heaven and earth, letting emotions out and welcoming happiness and peace inside.

Participants of Eduk8 Novara standing on the staircase of an old brick building

Besides the personal development, I have also learned many new important things as a trainer. I still have a long way to go. Some of my closer-future goals include that I want to deliver more workshops together with a co-trainer, figure out which topics are my preference to deliver, but also try the topics which I wasn’t comfortable delivering, for example, a year ago.

This is just another step-in stone, for the goal of one day becoming a trainer.

This is my unfinished story.

Thank you for taking part of it.

- Petra

Petra Hannus is National Training Coordinator of ESN Finland and President of ESN Vaasa. Eduk8 is ESN’s international training project, which aims to empower ESN members with soft skills that allow them to develop themselves as individuals and perform better in their ESN daily tasks. Find out more about Eduk8 on