Organisation: MentorProgramma Friesland, NL

Facilitator/s: Kamilla Górczynska & Hanane Azarzar

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 the voice of the mentees. After the summary, the two students shared their personal perspectives on how the workshop they had the chance to follow.

MentorProgramma Friesland is one of  Mentoring Europe’s partner organisations.The programme aims at helping students in vocation secondary (MBO) and higher education (HBO) through mentoring. Mentees are matched with mentors coming from different backgrounds. These mentors can very often be recent graduates who are now seeking to help others to successfully finish their studies. However, they can also be working professionals and older role models. Students are supported and empowered by their mentors who help them make choices and set goals in life.

The workshop MentorProgramma Friesland hosted at the EMS 2022 introduced us to the mentees’ perspectives on how they define successful mentoring relationships. The primary question asked during the workshop moment was:

What do students find most meaningful in a mentoring relationship?

During the first round, each group was given cards with words such as self-confidence, motivation, acceptance, guidance, safety, role model, fun, love, and independence aiming at opening the floor for discussions on what the students find most meaningful in mentoring relationships. The cards reflected key terms on what students generally find meaningful in mentoring relationships. The challenge was to select the top five most meaningful words based on the students perspective. Once the first activity was over all groups presented and explained their findings.

In the next round, new groups were formed this time with both the students and participants.

Together they discussed the lists from the students previously made and moved on to create new lists. The new list included the perspectives of both parties – the students and the participants. Again, the results were presented in front of the whole group. In the end we dived deeper into the meanings of the words on the cards. Interestingly, each person defined the words differently. For example safety between a mentor and mentee can mean a safe space but it can also mean something completely different.

All of these insights were reflected in the final round along with some personal stories about mentors and mentees. The workshop showed and embraced that mentees have a story to tell and that it is crucial to hear what they are saying. 

What surprised us the most was the debate on what the students find most meaningful in mentoring and what instead adults think young people find most meaningful in mentoring, because it is very valuable for me to realise what my fellow students have to say. Since everyone has a different interpretation of the different words and their meaning, it was very interesting to find out about how each of the participants revealed their subjective thoughts on the different words the cards offered. I found this workshop very touching because of the personal-sharing character required from the audience as well as the organiser. And I think this was a reminder of how important mentoring is for everyone on a personal level. It was a clear message on how mentoring enhances people’s lives!