Input provided by Berenika Kusová & Markéta Michalcová, students in BA Humanities students at Charles University

Edited by Erika Irabor & Mattia Troiano

The student lab at Mentoring Europe has collected inputs from two international students who joined the EMS 2022 and have provided inputs on the workshops they have attended throughout the three-day summit. The following paragraphs are testimonials from two Czech bachelor’s students followed by a summary of the workshop sessions they attended. For this blog post, they have summarised the workshop session provided by the International Women Centre. After the summary, the two students shared their personal perspectives on how the workshop they had the chance to follow.

Organisation: The International Women Centre, NL

Facilitators: Marlies Pfann & Peter van Deursen

The International Women’s Centre (IVC) stands for the empowerment of humans towards social self-reliance and financial independence.

Most of the women coming in touch with IVC are immigrants. They struggle at different levels. Some are job seekers who cannot find work placements due to invalid documentation, others have language difficulties and find it more challenging to adapt to the new cultures. Coming from a non-EU country can make the integration process a socially but also personally challenging experience that not all newcomers can master successfully.

And this is where IVC comes into play. The programme helps women to find jobs that suit their abilities and talents as many refugees and immigrants have problems getting work in the Netherlands at the level they are trained for.

Solutions to the stated problems are provided by the International Women’s Center through the so-called IVC Participation Ladder Model. It provides participants with a follow-up system, Pré-VPL, and VPL training. The IVC Participation Ladder Model is a scientifically validated framework with European recognition. It focuses on climbing the ladder, i.e. personal growth, self-development, and becoming more powerful. During the Pré VPL and VPL training, participants learn how to rely on each other to carry out assignments, expand their network, and use their newly-made contacts to realise their dream and set their own goals and a clearer path towards their achievement.

The IVC programme organises activities and projects where migrant women also learn about different cultures to remove prejudices with the goal of mutual integration. One of these activities was also tried in this workshop, namely the Ecogram. The main purpose of this activity was to indicate connections that participants have with other people or institutions, and the quality and value they see in them by drawing circles with arrows based on how strong and how mutual – if at all – the connection is.

We received a lot of information about the IVC programme which was really interesting to listen to. We also highly appreciated the workshop hosts explaining the role of the mentor in their programme and how important mentors actually are. We did an interactive session where everyone had to fill out an “ecogram”. I took part in the exercise which deepened my newly learned knowledge and pushed me to put that into practice already.

As a key mission of Mentoring Europe and this very edition of the EMS, we are glad that this experience gave me a mixture of theory and practice. I enjoyed being in an international group, whose members shared a human-centric approach to their daily work and beyond. It was a nice experience that I was able to follow and now I can say that I know more about mentoring than ever before!