Learning Leadership By Experiencing Powerlessness. Interview With International Summer School Trainer Bogdan Vaida

We continue to acquaint you with the team of trainers and experts who will be sharing their knowledge with us during the Youth International Summer School, Beijing 2017. Meet Bogdan Vaida, a young experiential trainer from the Romania who uses the appealing catchphrase: ‘I teach students how to become their own teachers’ and at the openings day of the event, will moderate The Labyrinth workshop. Let’s find out what Bogdan is made of and what he’ll be offering us at the event.

Bogdan, you are new to Youth Time. Please, introduce yourself to our readers.

I’m an active person so I hate sitting in a chair for more than 50 minutes- and that’s a stretch, too! My body aches from having to sit still, my mind wanders off and my attention parachutes into the pits of boredom. I like to perform extreme sports, which actually generates ideas that I use in my experiential trainings. Therefore, when in trainings, I bring my drive to class. I’m sure you all know the saying: “people learn best from their own mistakes”. That’s what fuels me to go the extra mile when it comes to my students and my courses. I strongly live by these three things:

  1. I believe I can create an environment in which people can learn right by doing wrong.
  2. I believe people can create mistakes from which they learn directly, efficiently and productively!
  3. I believe I can teach students how to become their own teachers!

For more about me, check out the video below.

What drives you to be part of the Youth International Summer School Beijing 2017?

Since 2009 I’ve been doing trainings all over Europe in different fields and environments and in truth, I’ve learned as much as I’ve taught. When I started being a trainer, I quickly left the Powerpoint presentations behind and used funtivities instead. My students came to love and appreciate the new approach and that enabled me to generate learning in places where learning

didn’t benefit from the best of circumstances. And now, here I am! I feel it’s time to internationalise the international; I can’t wait to go to Summer School and offer my expertise and my love for teaching in a truly multi-potential environment. I love a good challenge and I can’t wait to dive deep into this experience.

Without giving too much away of it.. What is ‘The Labyrinth workshop’ going to be about?

The Labyrinth is an adventure game where collaboration and leadership meet division and powerlessness. Will the group find a common strategy to succeed? Will leaders empower the right people to do the right job? Will innovation and creativity create the necessary momentum to reach the end? Enter ‘The Labyrinth’ and find out for yourself!

How did you come up to put this workshop together? 

I got inspired at the Experiential Educators Europe summit where I attended numerous workshops. The facilitators there used out-of-the-ordinary tools to achieve learning! I saw leadership being taught with a ruler and connection being expressed using balloons. But what really caught my eye was an improvised adventure game set in a garden, with squares drawn in chalk and challenges at each step… I knew right there and then that The Labyrinth was what I wanted to provide at my next training!

What should Summer School participants do to prepare best before attending your workshop?

Hmm… 30 push-ups? 10 pull-ups? How about squats? If you can do that, congratulations! If not, congratulations for focusing your life elsewhere. You won’t need them here. JUST stay open and eager to learn- that’s all that ‘The Labyrinth’ needs from you. A Chinese proverb illustrates this wonderfully:


“Trial often exhibits truly wonderful results.”

How can Summer School attendees use the knowledge best in their future? 

In ‘The Labyrinth’ you build leadership skills while working on a challenging problem. And that’s just half of it! Can you believe the process has another side- collaboration- to it? All of this is taking place in an international and intercultural environment!! Of course, the next step is applicability. More specifically, my question is this: what would you do with these skills? Can you imagine yourself bringing leadership, communication, collaboration and problem solving skills into your daily life? What would your life look like after such an experience?

Is there anything else you wish to add or bring to our attention?

When you see me at the event, don’t be shy! Come and share a story with me (and for the truly shy, a dare: ask me how I broke my collarbone). Looking forward to meet you!

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