Erasmus+ Staff Training week at Aarhus University (Denmark)

Having encouraged 100’s of UoR members of staff to participate on the Erasmus+ staff mobility programme over the years I realised that I had never properly participated myself.

So when Aarhus University (AU) emailed to highlight their Staff Week, with a very short application deadline, I speculatively applied. There was a lingering doubt as to the relevance for an ‘old timer’ like me, but when informed of my selection almost immediately there was no easy way to back out (thankfully!). Did I really have the time to take a week away from work? Not really, but too late…

Was it worth it? Absolutely – 100%.

The 4 day programme consisted of some fantastic sessions run by AU colleagues & external speakers covering a wide range of mobility and internationalisation topics. These included the ‘staples’ of any Erasmus / Study Abroad office e.g. Orientation & Welcome programmes (analysis / innovation); Study Abroad Promotion, pre-departure & re-entry activities etc. There were intriguing sessions about Danish Education and the plethora of ongoing national educational reforms, AU’s ongoing internationalisation plans, institutional priorities and ambitions. There were Faculty lead introductions, campus tours and sharing of detailed local-level information and insights. All very useful and thought provoking. However it was the non-standard content that was truly engaging, including:

– an informative session about Behavioural Design, provoking a lot of group discussion as to its relevance to and appropriateness for Study Abroad activities;

– the HR Director of LEGO – preaching to the converted – noting that Study Abroad demonstrates curiosity, which is the main attribute LEGO looks for in its recruitment of new staff. Study Abroad = International Mindset = Open Mindset = Curiosity. It’s nice to feel validated.

The highlight (for me at least) however was a very passionate talk by an Aarhusian (?) who had set up the Warm Welcome Society – a citizen led initiative to welcome all new arrivals to Aarhus – Danes, students, workers, immigrants etc. He explained the rationale, the history and its development, and how citizens had worked outside of and recently with the municipality in helping to try to make Aarhus one of the most ‘stranger’ friendly cities in Europe. Best described as GIVEISM, there was now an established network in place to help make all new arrivals welcomed in Aarhus and giving them the opportunity to truly be part of their local communities. I think he polarised opinions, but I loved his view that we need to THINK BIG to make any meaningful change! Relevance to Study Abroad? Loads – so many ideas to plunder, but it generated and inspired tangents that will hopefully help ESAO further develop our activities.

On top of the formal sessions there was plenty of networking and discussions with the 28 other participants from all over Europe, the USA, Peru, China and Japan. Each had their own stories, expertise, experience and opinions – I learnt something from everyone, in different ways.

In conclusion, I would massively encourage anyone who is eligible and interested to participate on an Erasmus+ staff mobility week, if you have the opportunity (look at IMotion Erasmus Staff week to see if there is something that interests you!). If the advertised content appears relevant, and you are willing to get involved, then there could be a wonderful learning opportunity awaiting!

Contact us in the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office ESAO (studyabroad@reading.ac.uk ) if you would like any further info about Erasmus+ Staff Mobility.

 

Marcus Dowse

Erasmus & Study Abroad Manager

Erasmus+ Staff Mobility: Dr Dan Jones (Groningen)

Erasmus+ Staff mobility

The Erasmus & Study Abroad Office also facilitates and administers opportunities for staff at Reading via the Erasmus+ programme. Read about Dr Dan Jones’ Erasmus+ Staff Mobility experience at the University of Groningen – Internationalization at Home (April 2018)

In April 2018, I attended the University of Groningen Erasmus+ Staff Week on the theme ‘Internationalisation at Home’. My motivation for attending the event was driven by my role as International Tutor in the School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences. Having recently taken on the position I felt that there was room in the School to make improvements to the experience of our international cohort. Having heard about the staff exchange opportunities that the Erasmus& Study Abroad office fund, I was keen to make the most of them.
The week was extremely informative, learning from academics, professional staff, and even students, about the value and benefits of the international experience at the University of Groningen. Themes included, language and culture policy, intercultural competency, the international classroom and how to engage students and staff in the advantages that internationalisation and diversity can bring to higher education – a particular focus was on how internationalisation can benefit both home and international students.

By sharing effective, evidence-based practice, this staff week was invaluable, providing a new perspective and insight into this area. The week was beneficial not only for my own CPD, but, by contributing to the formation of my role as International Tutor, is likely to benefit PCLS as well. On the back of this Staff Week I have successfully secured an internal T&L grant to run and deliver a project to assess and develop the international experience in PCLS, from both a student and staff perspective – the knowledge acquired during this event, in my opinion, has created a much stronger project and maximised the impact that it can potentially have on practice in the School.

I thank the Erasmus+ Programme for the funding that enabled me the opportunity to visit the University of Groningen for this Staff Week – I cannot recommend these events enough. I am already looking forward to my next Erasmus+ Staff Week and what further developments it can bring to my own CPD, as well as benefit to the University.

Dr Dan Jones is a Lecturer, International Tutor and Erasmus+ & Study Abroad Coordinator in the School of Psychology & Clinical Languages (http://www.reading.ac.uk/Psychology/About/staff/d-jones6.aspx ).

For more information about Erasmus+ Staff Mobility please visit: www.reading.ac.uk/erasmus or contact studyabroad@reading.ac.uk