Opportunities that show up out of nowhere are the best. But along with its sudden appearance always comes the question: Are you brave enough to take it?
Last September, I was faced with this situation…
I was simply visiting my family in Norway before flying off to Istanbul. Pops was the one that picked me up at the airport and during the ride home….
Pops: So Janice, are you ready for Thursday?
Me: My flight to Istanbul isn’t until Sunday, Pops.
Pops: No.. I meant for teaching at your mom’s school.
Me: Wait what?
Pops: Your mom told the school about your arrival and that you do workshops and seminars. She asked if you could teach at the school and they said yes. Didn’t your mom tell you?
Haha… At first, I was surprised that my mom did that without telling me. Second, I felt hopeful and happy that I would be teaching in Norway. Third, I felt terrified because this is Norway and these are Norwegian college students.
Quick sidestory about my mom because I am a proud little bunny… She graduated with a degree in MCP (joint course of Math, Chemistry and Physics) in university and took up Marine Biology for masters, and then worked in the travel industry in Norway for almost 15 years. She also decided to study for a special certification in Digital Media Marketing in New York University, graduating just recently. Despite the weird mix of her education and work experience, her biggest dream was to become an educator. It was because of her experience in the travel industry that a school hired her to teach tourism. She teaches at Fredrikstad Fag Akademi in Norway.
I spoke with my mom about it and when everything was finalized with me, her and the school, I decided to push through with it. Amazing opportunities like this don’t come by easily. So even though I was overwhelmed with fear, I decided to set it aside in favor of achieving another dream. Take a peek into how it went!
Originally, I was only asked to do 1 workshop/seminar with them. The tourism students had to learn about setting up trade fair and events for travel and tourism, which is why my mom asked me to do my ‘Events Management Basics’ seminar. When the students started coming in, I got more and more nervous because these were Norwegian collegiates. Norwegians are typically a bit on the serious side and I didn’t know how they were going to respond to my hyper energy and bubbliness. haha.
After getting some very assuring messages from a few people that I loved and who were part of my life support (haha), I became a bit more confident. And right before starting the seminar I thought to myself, ‘OK I’ve always chosen to be myself so why should this situation change? The best that could happen is that they will always like and appreciate me and the worse is that they will judge me forever and judge my mom for birthing such an annoying creature into this world. OK wait they can’t judge my mom. I cannot screw this up. OK game face on. Just imagine you’re back home, just doing your thing…’ After hyperventilating in the bathroom for 5 minutes, I went out with a straight face and strode inside the classroom. Haha.
For the first couple of minutes, my nerves were acting up, especially when they were all looking at me with focus. But then after I started bouncing around, letting out the hyper unicorn in me, I started to feel more comfortable and like my usual self. I started making more jokes and let out more of my personality shine through to see how they would respond and was very surprised that they were! You cannot know how happy I was that they were laughing WITH me and not AT me. hahaha.
What was only supposed to be a 1 workshop thing turned into me getting their day. I taught 3 workshops that day… And because of the great feedback from the students and some teachers who sat in, I ended up being called back for another day of teaching! :D This was very surreal for me. I really love doing workshops and seminars, and sharing what I know and have learned from experience to others. The students were very responsive! I was also worried that they might find my workshops outdated or something, but according to the feedback, they really learned a lot. Thank you Tourism students!! hihi
Here is a quick rundown of the workshops I had given that day, along with a short description. I learned all these through the jobs I’ve had over the years. (I’ll be putting up a post soon about this). I’ve already done these workshops and seminars back home in the Philippines for high school and college students, and just updated some of the material I used.
1.) Events Management Basics
Basics of Events Management, from pre-event to post-event. Included in the seminar are the roles and their responsibility, the process of event conception and implementation, and applying creativity into concepts.
2.) Pitching 101, How To Sell Your Idea
Learning how to sell your idea is very important nowadays. It is a skill that you use not only in business but in everyday life. This workshop was a culmination of training I got from Star Cinema and Eventscape Manila.
3.) Story Conceptualization
Story telling is now extremely important nowadays. Not only is it used for the usual storytelling outputs, but it is also necessary in business and any endeavor. The workshop is a culmination of training that I got from Star Cinema and Eventscape Manila, and I also use the aid of TALECRAFT, a storytelling tool.
4.) Resume Building For Better Job Hunting
A well-written resume is important nowadays to secure jobs. This seminar is for constructing resumes that help you have a better job hunt. This was culminated from personal experience and extensive research. Even as a 3rd world citizen, I was able to secure 2 jobs internationally with the resume format in this workshop.
5.) Creating An Effective Modern Powerpoint
Gone are the days where powerpoints merely contain boring text. Today, powerpoints have to be visually appealing while getting the information across with less text content.
6.) Networking– Its Importance and Basics
Networking is very important when you want to get ahead in life. It’s not about who you know but what opportunities you can get and give when you do networking. This seminar tackles its importance and the basics of how to go about it.
Overall, the experience was amazing! I have taught workshops and seminars like this in Sofia, Bulgaria for United Nations (with AIESEC), but Norway was another daunting country to teach in. I’m really lucky my mom believes in me so much that she went ahead and asked the school if I could be a guest teacher, even before asking me if I even wanted to. Yay, I love you mom! :D hihi
Little fun tidbit! I was surprised that the owner of the school sat in on my workshops on the 2nd day because he heard great feedback from the others. Over lunch on the 2nd day, my mom told me that the school owner was really impressed and is interested in having me guest teach again the next time I’m in Norway. And yes, without any shame or embarrassment, I did a happy dance in the restaurant and gave zero fucks. haha. Thank you for having me Fredrikstad Fag Academi for having me! (btw, I kept saying FAG during my introductions when apparently it was pronounced differently. lol)
Have you guys experienced wonderful, surprising opportunities? Were you brave enough to take the plunge? What did you do to get yourself there? Sound off! I’d love to hear from you! :)