Erasmus+ Staff Training Week at Tampere University of Applied Sciences (Finland)

My hosts at Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) definitely rolled out the welcome mat during their Erasmus+ staff training week on the topic of “The Secret of Innovative Partnerships”! Colleagues from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Palestinian Territories, Slovenia, Spain and the UK came together with our Finnish hosts for three days of activities from 11 – 14 March.

After an introduction to higher education in Finland, including touching on the recent partial merger of TAMK with the University of Tampere, we were given a tour of the campus buildings. Thankfully we did not need to head outside during the tour, for as can be seen there was snow and ice accompanied by a temperature 10 Celsius lower than that I’d left in Reading! It was hence a relief not to have to wrap up and head outdoors! The tour included the Library (home of many origami birds made by TAMK students and staff), student Service Street (home of the Erasmus+ student and staff exchange offices), and the cafeteria. It was also interesting to see some students working on 3D printing projects, including getting the chance to sit on a 3D printed chair they had made (no, I didn’t break it…).

In the afternoon, we split up into two workshop streams. I had decided to join the Research, Development & Innovation stream, mainly as an opportunity to learn about an area of international partnerships I did not know much about beforehand. The first session focused on our institutions’ general research themes and areas of interest, with the second and third sessions over the following two days looking at turning project ideas into viable working projects and boosting our international networks. Building on the latter, if you are not connected with me on LinkedIn already, you are more than welcome to via https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisbonham11/! I had been slightly nervous that coming from a non-research focused role at Reading that I would not be able to get much from the workshops. However, I was proven wrong with the help of the workshop leaders and other participants, and definitely hope to build more support of research focused mobility into my role going forward.

The programme put together by TAMK colleagues also included a discussion of the use of social media in our marketing activities, and an introduction to the Y-campus, an incubator for student-led enterprises. In the social media discussion, it was especially interesting to learn about social media platforms not much used in the UK. These included Jodel, which allows users to post public messages anonymously to other users in their local area, and VKontakte, the most popular social network in Russia and hence used by TAMK colleagues to promote their programmes to prospective students from there.

All in all, my few days in Tampere were great. If you would like information about how you can participate in an Erasmus+ staff mobility, please drop by the Erasmus & Study Abroad Office (Edith Morley 203) or email studyabroad@reading.ac.uk.

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