TeachSurfing

More success stories

August 22, 2020 · Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Hosting German students in my family

My first experience hosting students from a German university in Ouaga was amazing. The project took 5 years with groups of students spending 3 months enabling some 20 students to benefit from the experience as I hosted them in my family in Ouagadougou, the capital city.

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June 22, 2020 · Ереван, Армения

EduArmenia

I am a counfounder of EduArmenia educators volunteering project.EduArmenia is a volunteering project initiated by a group of patriotic educators from Armenia and Artsakh. We strongly believe an advanced education system is key to our country’s development. The project’s aim is to create a working platform where experienced educators of Armenian diaspora can share their experience and knowledge with Armenian and Artsakh educators, thus allowing input to be given to their homeland’s development.The project’s slogan is “Use your knowledge and experience to develop our homeland”.The projector founders are M. Ed., education specialist Lilit Mkrtchyan and International Education management specialist Seda Kocharyan.

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February 18, 2020 · Berlin, Germany

Starting them young with waste reduction: Daniel's story

The effects of climate change are irreversible and children, under the age of 10, are most susceptible to the damages of environmental degradation. The responsibility to act, make a difference, and ensure a healthier environment falls on adults. Adults have, to an extent an awareness and capability to act for the benefit of the next generation. Change happens at multiple levels, and involving children in a cycle that greatly affects their opportunities in life is a responsibility that we should all take seriously. Even the smallest steps can have big consequences, especially in driving awareness. With focused efforts on getting adults involved in driving change for the environment, it is refreshing to hear stories about involving children in their own future.In Berlin, last October 2019, one such example of sharing time, effort, and skill to make positive impact is TeachSurfer Daniel who held a workshop hosted by Wir Gestalten e.V. on the topic of reducing waste. The workshop was especially adapted to children, 3-10 years of age. As an expert in the field of sustainable development, particularly in ecological sustainability, Daniel is motivated by a social commitment to create impact through enlightening people on what needs to change and a personal dedication to live with more awareness.In line with Global Cleanup Day, Daniel held a two-part workshop to raise awareness on waste management. The first was an interactive learning experience where the children were introduced to waste collection by physically picking-up rubbish on the streets and orienting them on the proper bins to use. Two weeks after, Daniel facilitated a more traditional-style workshop, where children learned various techniques in reducing waste, such as cutting on consumption through sharing or instead buying products that are made from renewable materials.Daniel’s insights on his experience were reflections on the nature of children themselves – that they are naturally curious. This made the workshop for him, an enjoyable experience because of their willingness to learn. However, it was not without difficulty because of the energy required to keep up with the children’s own. “The challenge is in keeping them focused and properly directing their energy through more interactive means,” Daniel said. Teaching for Daniel is also a chance to learn and develop – from improving on public speaking, building self-confidence, and practising empathy to be a more effective teacher. Through his workshop trainings with TeachSurfing, he further developed his skills in workshop facilitation, technical troubleshooting, creating presentations, and engaging audiences. Together with his professional experiences, the training program TSRP conducted by TeachSurfing gave him the added knowledge to confidently accomplish both more challenging and rewarding workshops. For Daniel, the workshop was very fulfilling – sharing what he is passionate about, feeling good to be doing his part in building a better society, and helping create better lives for children. “Society can learn a lot from children - to be more open-minded; it needs to change its structures, one from dictation to choice, from spoon-feeding to involvement.”

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December 5, 2019 · Berlin, Germany

Join a Festival, join a revolution

There is a transformative energy, sometimes unspoken but largely felt when we are about to enter into a new decade. A new decade means a welcome beginning, a vital change - and change is always invigorating. Just a few months before the calendars switch to year 2020, on 2nd November 2019, TeachSurfing, a global knowledge-sharing community, based in Berlin, launched a dynamic effort that marks the humble beginnings of a knowledge-sharing revolution – the TeachSurfing Festival. Set in the savvy bUm Berlin, the TeachSurfing Festival brought together a community of 180 people including 24 volunteers, 12 speakers, and 6 hosts to celebrate a shared passion for knowledge.As the clock strikes to 3, and the space was slowly filling - the energy of the festival was set. Smiling and eager faces of attendees full of drive and curiosity made the event a success from beginning to end. At every corner, the experience was invigorating – from the set-up, to the collaterals, the food, and the program, everything was effortlessly created to express the singular feeling of authenticity.Miganoush Magarian, co-founder and CEO sparked the beginning by opening the festival with a warm welcome and an enthusiastic introduction to the TeachSurfing community. An inspiring key-note speech by education maven, Ashoka Fellow, and special guest, Margret Rasfeld followed as she unveiled her motivations and her work towards radically transforming the system of education – one from teaching to learning.The heart of the festival were its workshops, especially chosen to be relevant and encompass a diverse range of interests. The workshops included: Turning a Summer Course Concept into Reality (Eszter Boros), The Ecological Footprint (Daniel Witt), Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (Matt Buccelli), How to Do TeachSurfing in Tanzania (Erick Morro), Technology and Its Effects on Our Relationships (Nina del Marr), Become a TeachSurfer Crashcourse (Gretta Hohl), Yoga – Health, Strength, and Inner Freedom (Dr. Wiebke Mohme), and Introduction to Design/Innovation Thinking (Khaled Khudr).Each workshop was an interactive learning experience for both participants and TeachSurfers. Everyone came together in a single room with an openness to experience and knowledge-sharing, that made the workshops more than just a class, but an engaging dialogue. There is a feeling of familiarity but also a strong energy of diversity, not in the traditional sense, but of a merging of individual differences, ideas, and views that expressed the community’s inclusivity.This openness and enthusiasm made the TeachSurfers Panel – An Exchange of Ideas a great inspiration for those who were eager to begin their TeachSurfing journey. The Host Marketplace, became the perfect opportunity for Host Organisations to present the work that they do to an engaged community eager to create impact. To end the program, the festival would not be complete without TeachSurfing recognising the dedication of TeachSurfers through the TSRP Award Ceremony for their amazing work and for being a continued source of inspiration. Finally, the night introduced a live jazz-electro performance giving the festival a more casual mood.As the doors of the TeachSurfing Festival closed, a new one opens. Dramatic changes have been happening in the last decade, shifting the world we know to an innovation society. One of the main impacts of the TeachSurfing Festival is to be a source of inspiration and of connection. In a highly-globalised world, opportunities and access to knowledge has not yet been made equal. The awareness that the TeachSurfing Festival cultivates is a step towards igniting an emerging community’s passion in promoting global knowledge-sharing – and this community is exactly the fuel that will propel the movement forward into the new decade.

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August 22, 2019 · Potsdam, Germany

From TSRP training to delivering the first workshop - Sophie's story

Sophie participated at TeachSurfing ReferentenProgram (TSRP) training in Potsdam in May 2019.Two months later she gave her first workshop about Social Media Strategy. She felt now was her time to share her knowledge with the community and take part in the #knowledgesharingrevolution.TSRP training program - Become a successful workshop facilitator! TSRP includes online and group training as well as individual support during the whole program. Before the one-day group training, the participants prepare a workshop proposal regarding a topic they are interested in and they wish to give a workshop about. During the group training, the participants learn with a professional trainer the best workshop facilitation tools and tricks to successfully deliver a workshop and get people engaged. Sophie highly enjoyed the training program and during the group training, she especially got inspired by the other participants. The group was very diverse - all 11 participants had different experiences and aspirations but all wanted to improve their presentation skills for the common good, to have a social impact in other lives. For anyone thinking about a TSRP training program, Sophie highly recommends it: ”I would recommend it to anyone interested in giving a workshop and to learn how to successfully facilitate a workshop. It does not matter what is your topic – it can be anything that you are curious about! Participating at TSRP is a great chance also to meet amazing and like-minded people. Just give the training a try and see if it is for you!” From training to action - How to create a social media strategy and reach your target group? Sophie’s workshop took place in Social Impact Lab Potsdam were 15 participants, mostly entrepreneurs, were eager to learn how to create a social media strategy to catch the attention of their specific target group. For Sophie social media is a natural topic as she works with the topic and has over 6 years of experience as a social media freelancer. She felt she wanted to help entrepreneurs who could not afford expensive agencies to have access to social media strategy tips to boost their businesses. Sophie herself became interested in social media in 2011 when the social media revolution was starting to reshape the world. However, during that time there weren’t schools or courses regarding social media or social media strategies. The only way to learn about the topic and dive deeper was to learn it herself and exchange ideas and knowledge with other like-minded people. It was natural for her to choose to share her expertise about social media as she has been working in the area for a long time and it is a topic she is truly passionate about. After giving the first workshop, Sophie feels excited and satisfied. The Social Impact Lab community was inspiring and Sophie truly enjoyed organizing the workshop with the host organization. Now Sophie feels really motivated to continue her TeachSurfing journey and sharing her knowledge about social media to more people.You can also apply to our next TSRP training starting in September!Apply HERE before Monday 26th August.More information about TSRP training program: tsrp.teachsurfing.org

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August 15, 2019 · Berlin, Germany

The One with ThesisSlam!

It was a calm Friday, the 5th of April to be precise, when the seniors at Bard College Berlin (BCB) did the deed: we submitted our final B.A. thesis projects to the Registrar’s office. The afternoon felt strangely calm; existential dread at our post-thesis future not fully having set in yet. After four years of undergraduate classes we walked around campus, three printed copies in hand, as relief flooded our faces, and there was a momentary peace at having finished such a long and arduous project. After over nine months of dedicated research, writing, analysing and brainstorming, we had finally created a piece of academic work that was meant to represent the culmination of our university years. The feeling surrounding thesis submission should have been more exciting, but there was something lacking. We journeyed so long to get to this point and it was all over in a snap and I desperately wanted to change that.Enter ThesisSlam. Towards the end of Fall semester, we faced the gargantuan task of explaining our research to friends, family members, professors and strangers who had just learned that we were about to graduate. In the midst of still developing full research topics, we suddenly found ourselves giving elevator pitches of almost a year’s worth of research to just about anyone. We were all in the same boat, swimming in the ambiguity of rough ideas and grasping at the ghost of a research question like a life raft. We learnt so much by just listening to each other talk about our ideas and what we wanted to write about. In the end, although we didn’t end up including all of the content we had researched, my classmates and I had stored up a wealth of fascinating information about our respective topics. By the time the rough idea of ThesisSlam had begun to formulate in my head, I was considering two questions: one, how could we create a space wherein these diverse ideas could be exchanged, and two, how could we do this in a way that was separate from our assigned thesis presentation? An integral part of our final submissions is the B.A. thesis presentation, wherein students present their projects to a panel comprising at least their advisor and second-reader. Although encouraged to attend, many other students couldn’t watch their peers due to timing clashes and missed out on learning about their fellow students’ projects. The question, then, was whether there was a way to create a knowledge-sharing platform that was separate from our assigned presentations.Indeed, there was. When I came back from winter break, I reached out to a contact, Natalie Magee, who was working at TeachSurfing at the time to run my idea by her. I was so excited to share the idea of ThesisSlam with her; we sat down at a cafe and, before she could say anything, I went off. I talked for 10 straight minutes and, when I was finally done, she was looking at me intently. Nervous that I might have botched the pitch, I sat back and pretended to be interested in my coffee that had gotten very cold by then as she scanned the sheet of notes I had brought with me. She didn’t look at me.“I like this,” she said. Over the next hour, cold coffee forgotten in the corner, we sketched out a rough idea of the program, delegating work between ourselves. She would be in charge of venue-scouting and I speaker-finding. We discussed various ideas for advertising the program, the feasibility of whichever location we chose, the extent to which TeachSurfing could be involved, and how we were going to scout speakers. By the end of the month, Natalie had found a gem of a location, a cozy cafe in Moabit, and I, through the luck of the draw (or, rather, through bombarding seniors with emails for interested participants) had found my speakers.On Wednesday, the 8th of May, nine Bard College Berlin seniors gathered in be’kech Anti-Cafe to present their thesis research to a room full of students and strangers alike. The event, titled ThesisSlam, attracted a total of 40 people who all cozied up in the basement of the cafe, which had comfortable sofas and chairs. Think of it like a living room — as each of the nine presented, people sat around with food and drinks, legs stretched out. It was a wonderful space that accommodated our speakers and our guests well. But it was our speakers who really brought the event to life.Our first speaker, Alona Cohen, talked to us about her project on Photo Ecology and Susan Sontag’s On Photography; next, Clara Canales presented succinctly on the power and growth of populism in Spain; Farah Badr explained the ideological growth of Nasserism in Egypt (from Gamal Abdel Nasser); Nancy Stanley gave us a funny run-down on her project on Brachen, nature and public spaces in Berlin; Wilma Ewerhart brought to us her research on stenographers in the Bundestag and their relevance to parliamentary discussion (after which we took a break because Wilma’s cursing — relevant to her thesis, I promise — had left us all in splits and slightly dehydrated). Although many had settled into their comfortable couches, the break was necessary. No matter how interesting and substantial, listening to nine consecutive speeches on such diverse topics is a tiresome activity that needed to be broken with a Club Mate from the upstairs bar — our audience needed a breather in order to process all of it. After about fifteen minutes of mingling, the audience was re-seated, and off we went again!From here, Paula Pinto took over, presenting on the effects of oil giants in the Ecuadorian Amazon on indigenous tribes in the region; next, I presented about the history of forced sterilizations in India, especially during India’s state of Emergency in 1975; Elena Gagovska analysed Orientalism and balkanism in Rebecca West’s hybrid travel writing magnum opus, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon; and we finished with Nanuka Iashvili, who brought us a concise and clear understanding of certain Soviet Union national policies that developed in the 1920s at the beginning of the country’s formation. Notice something similar about all these topics? That’s right: they’re nothing like each other. That was another inspiration for ThesisSlam. Rarely can you get nine people in the same room that don’t share a nationality, nor a mother tongue, nor research interests, and somehow we did. Being at BCB has meant that we’ve been exposed to a diverse and vibrant student body. Much of that experience has culminated in the senior class writing their theses about either their own countries or about topical issues. In creating ThesisSlam, we hoped that not only would students get to hear what their peers had written about, but also that other members of the Berlin community could go on a small international journey with us as we all presented our work. Having an organization like TeachSurfing support us propelled the event to a platform that I could never have imagined – it gave us legitimacy. By sponsoring us, TeachSurfing allowed us to take ownership and accountability of our research by presenting it as credible individuals.More people than expected happily came along, listening intently and respectfully as each of the speakers, in their own style, presented their research. Audience members comprised students from BCB, Humboldt University, the Free University, members of TeachSurfing’s network, as well as be’kech regulars, all there to listen to our BCB students condense their research into exciting 10-minute speeches. The event ended up lasting a little over an hour, and, by the end of it, I realized what a great way this was for myself to learn more about my fellow seniors’ projects. Instead of simply reading a thesis, each speaker had brought their own personality to their research, which made their ideas come to life. The last twenty minutes of the evening was spent over drinks as audience members engaged whole-heartedly with speakers, approaching them with questions and comments. Some even approached us with their own ideas to conduct a ThesisSlam of sorts. My hope for this project is for someone else to take it and run. To expand it beyond BCB and perhaps some day beyond Berlin. But, for now, I’m more than happy with our nine-member basement event that really turned out to be a beautiful and educational evening; one that will stay with all of us for years to come.*** This article was originally published by Tanya Sharma (BCB Alumni '19) on the Bard College Berlin blog. It has been slightly modified for this platform. ***

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August 12, 2019 · New York, United States

Postcards from the Future

New York, San Fransisco, Berlin, Yerevan. These are the cities where Matt Buccelli, a US-born history tour guide, has given his workshop Postcards from the Future. At the workshops, Matt connects past, present and future by giving the participants a paper, a pen and freedom to envision how the world will look in 100 years.But let’s take a step back – how did Matt, who is passionate about history, end up giving workshops focusing on the future?At the start of the 20th century, artists in France were also imagining how the world might look in 100 years. They envisioned the year 2000and the drawings were presented at the Paris World Expo 1900. During the time, the second industrial revolution was reshaping the world, new technologies were emerging and people were pondering the same questions as we are today – how does the future look like?At the beginning of each workshop, Matt shares this story and shows drawings made by the French artists. You might see postcards from people playing croquet at the bottom of an ocean but also an ”electric scrubbing” device that we today call a vacuum cleaner. Past and present are linked stronger than we sometimes might think and Matt wants to highlight this importance to the audience. However, the future also depends on the present and after having a look at the history, it is time for participants to get their hands dirty imagining how the world will look in 100 years.The year 2119 – How does it look like?Matt has already given his workshop 8 times; in the US, Germany, and Armenia. His audience has been a combination of adult groups as well as teenagers at local schools. Many current issues and trends can be seen in the postcards from both adults and teenagers. You can see optimistic drawings of how humankind found a solution for climate change or created a teleportation device next to more pessimistic ones where technology has destroyed communication skills and the earth has become uninhabitable. Matt points out that the drawings from teenagers from different countries do not notably differ from each other – students in each place are concerned about issues like climate change and technology and this doesn’t change. Still, people do also come from different backgrounds with different kinds of experiences and this he has mostly noticed from the questions he has gotten from his audiences. In Armenia, the teenagers interviewed Matt and were highly interested to get to know this American living in Berlin, visiting Armenia, and giving history lessons.Inspiration for Postcards from the Future x8Matt gave his first Postcards from the Future workshop in 2017 and since then he has given it again and again. He is passionate about history and he sees this as a way to share his knowledge. But why not just give normal history presentations? Matt points out that while he is always lecturing about history to his friends, letting people actively participate is more powerful and engaging."It gets more interesting the more I give the workshops," says Matt. At every workshop, he gets to see different ideas about the future coming from people with all different experiences and backgrounds. Also, the workshops have evolved in time as Matt has learned from the audience what is interesting and to what direction to develop the workshop. The one thing that hasn't changed is the joy Matt receives when giving his workshops and meeting new inspiring people and seeing what the think about a topic as mysterious and important as the future.For TeachSurfers who are still looking for their thing or thinking about what is a good topic for a workshop, Matt recommends starting with what you are interested in. People get engaged when they see you are engaged and passionate about the topic. Let these people learn with you and get inspired by you with hands-on activities. Share your knowledge with others and inspire yourself as well!Follow Matt’s ongoing TeachSurfing project here and see how people imagine the world in 100 years!

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November 28, 2018 · Belgrade, Serbia

Embedded C Workshops

workshopOn October 20 and 21 we organized two "Embedded C" workshops at University Club for UNESCO.Both had the same content including "my story", "what's TeachSurfing", "what's a microcontroller" and practical parts where we were programming on a MSP430 to control two LEDs and a button. Split in two groups, 24 participants joined in total. The mixture of a getting started with a practical hands-on part gained interest. I was happy to receive plenty questions at the end of each workshop.journeyI was travelling with two friends: One of my roommates and her boyfriend. It took about two nights to get there. Since there was less traffic, we noticed that driving at night is less exhausting.Arriving in Belgrade, I met David, the local organizator affecting both workshops, and the film team, who shot some scenes for their documentation about teachsurfing. We had a great time, even though the film team caused some unexpected occurences.In between, my friends and I explored the city and visited friends of my roommate. Both was very interesting for me. After some very nice days we left Belgrade. A small detour granted us an additional day at the Adria coast in Italy. At the upcoming night we made it back to Germany.

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September 28, 2018 · Berlin, Germany

TeachSurfing Training

OnSeptember 3, 2018 with Gretta and Beata.Goal of this training was improving personal skills to get a good TeachSurfer.We talked about cultural diversity, presentationtechniques and how to reach the audience on one level.

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April 18, 2018 · Yerevan, Armenia

Teaching Meditation in Armenia

Last week I visited Armenia for the first time. Actually, it was my first time in the whole Caucasus region and I was really excited to experience just another part of the world. I spent a week there with the Training Program "Everyone Matters" that was co-organized between APY (Armenian Progressive Youth) and TeachSurfing.I ended up holding my workshop "Meditation made easy" twice during that time - once as part of the training and once hosted by Impact Hub Yerevan. As it was the first time doing a workshop outside of my home Berlin you can imagine I was pretty excited about it. Will Armenians be interested in meditation? Is my secular approach going to be accepted in a rather religious country?The answers to these questions were overwhelmingly yes and yes. I ended up testing the patience of the eventmanager as my workshop took almost an hour longer as planned. Everyone was very interested and curious about the topic, had a lot of questions and comments and it became another enriching and inspiring experience that showed my once again how similar we all are. Our lives may look different on the surface, but all around the world people have the same dreams for their inner development and face the same struggles on their way there.I'm very grateful for the opportunity to meet people around the world in this free educational format to talk about a topic that is so important to me. I enjoyed all the meaningful encounters I had there and the workshop served as a huge motivation to continue teaching as I travel the world.Thanks TeachSurfing and thanks Impact Hub Yerevan!!

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