Meeting Local Heroes is an i-strategies module based on social learning theory.

Social learning is founded on the idea that learners’ new behaviour can be acquired by observing and imitating others.

More in detail, university students meet selected fascinating local figures (the local heroes) with interesting life stories and goals achieved through their life made by passion and sacrifices. Observing and interacting with them, students will find a source of inspiration for their everyday life, studies and professions.

The i-strategies local heroes are selected local entrepreneurs, civic servants, politicians, and professionals in cultural heritage, tourism and many other fields ready to share their experiences and lessons learned interacting with students.

The usual meeting places with local heroes are the i-strategies HUB, corporate headquarters, local municipalities or other venues.

In the INTEGRATE project learning activity organized at Offida, learners meet Sandra Aparecida Gouveia, a local migrant entrepreneur. Indeed, the project was focused on Storytelling for migrant entrepreneurs and, at the time of the meeting, Sandra was writing her autobiography sharing her past made by abuses but also entrepreneurial success. The meeting was emotional and enriched all the participants.

How “Meeting with local heroes” works: 1) select a “Local hero” to invite to your class; 2) in the selection process, you should pay attention to the life experience “Local hero” can bring into your classes and his/her capacity to be emphatic with others, mostly students; 3) Remember you are not organizing a lecture but a non-formal learning experience that uses motivation and emulation as educational leverage; 4) before the meeting share with your students a short bio of the local hero you will invite; 5) the meeting start with a short self-presentation by the local hero; 6) then students are invited to interview him/her asking questions; 7) a wrap-up session is dedicated to comment the “Meeting with local heroes” experience.

The university students’ feedback about meeting with local heroes is usually positive because it is a different way to learn, exercise their interview skills, know more about the local context, establish new contacts and find new motivation and inspirational stories for their careers.