Facilitator Corner: Yuxuan Chen
FIUTS Facilitators are student leaders from all over the world who welcome new international students, help organize events, and lead activities for hundreds of students each quarter. Read on to find out more about the FIUTS facilitator experience from Yuxuan Chen.
Name: Yuxuan Chen
Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering
FIUTS Facilitator Since: Spring 2017
I started to go to FIUTS events during the International Student Welcome Week of my freshmen year. I like to travel around and make friends from all over the world, so FIUTS events always interest me. This year, I serve on the FIUTS Student Board as the co-chair for the FIUTS Leadership Committee, for which my responsibility is to promote leadership development for FIUTS facilitators. Fun fact: my goal is to visit every Disneyland in the world, and I still have the ones in Paris and Shanghai to go.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A FIUTS FACILITATOR?
After going to all sorts of FIUTS events, I felt I could help out with some of them and probably make the event better. Being a facilitator means responsibility, communication and flexibility for me. Working with a group of people (most likely strangers in the beginning) could be intimidating, but also pushes me to plan ahead as much as possible, be open-minded, and stay calm when things happen.
FAVORITE FIUTS ANECDOTE AS A FACILITATOR
During the FIUTS Oregon Coast Global Getaway this spring break, our group stayed at a vacation house together and we got the chance to cook group meals. I was almost prepared to “sacrifice” myself to do a lot of cooking work (although I can only make edible food), but then during the first meal I realized most of the group was really helpful and some of them are even “chef” level. Therefore, I ended up enjoying several feasts while not needing to work a lot.
HOW HAVE YOU GROWN AS A LEADER THROUGH BEING A FACILITATOR?
Communication: becoming a facilitator makes me think a lot about how to connect a group of people in a relatively short time. I always try to use all kinds of opportunities, such as icebreakers, group meals, etc. to know more about group members personally as well as facilitating the conversation. I learned that dividing a big group into sub groups with more manageable size is helpful, making sure no one feels left behind is important and talking about something fun or playing a game could engage the group effectively. I believe those communication skills will be valuable for my future career and life, and make me more friendly and be more of a team-player.
TIPS/COMMENTS FOR PEER FACILITATORS
Making decisions as a group could be challenging. As facilitators, our job is to facilitate the decision-making process. Coming with our own plan with several options is always a good thing. If the team can agree upon the decision (splitting is okay), all we need to do is to carry it out. However, when the group tends to be indecisive or have very different opinions, we should try our best to convince part of the group and even push a bit to reach a feasible decision in the end.