Green Mobility

The Erasmus & Study Abroad Office (ESAO) is pleased to finally introduce our ‘Green Mobility’ project – a pilot plan of action to help ESAO align our activities with the University of Reading’s institutional strategy (2020-26).

Green mobility logoThe strategy states that it is our institutional: “… long-term ambition to be the greenest university in the UK, we will lead by example and commit to genuine carbon neutrality by 2030…”. (https://www.reading.ac.uk/about/strategy.aspx )

We want Study Abroad – both ‘import’ and ‘export’ – to contribute to this long-term commitment.

The initial 24-month project is a flexible plan, aimed at supporting more environmentally friendly study and staff mobility abroad, and international education opportunities at home. It will include:

  1. Making a financial contribution to offset or inset (to be decided in conjunction with UoR Sustainability) our CO₂ emissions for every outgoing and incoming student mobility managed by ESAO, taking place in 2021/2 and 2022/3.
  2. Mandating that all Erasmus+ staff mobilities or trips funded by ESAO fully offset the return trip(s) at time of booking with the UoR Travel Management company.
  3. Raising student awareness about more environmentally friendly ways of travel and the importance of compensating for CO₂ emissions, as a routine part of Study Abroad promotion and preparation.
  4. Working with our partners to offer something reciprocal, so that our collective actions will help positive actions that might exceed the CO₂ emissions generated.
  5. Investigating the possibilities for creating climate change and sustainability pathways, sessions, activities and awards, which students studying abroad (incoming and outgoing) can participate in – here, or at our partners.
  6. Supporting greater engagement with virtual / online international learning opportunities, thereby hopefully increasing the number of students that can have a meaningful international and interactive education experience.

We will work with UoR Sustainability Office and other stakeholders at the University of Reading to review and develop the pilot into a more coherent strategy from January 2023 onwards.

We know that what we are proposing is imperfect, but it is a start. However we will learn as we progress, and will utilise the expertise at the University to improve what we do, in order to do our bit.

 

If you have any queries about the Green Mobility project, please contact Marcus Dowse (m.a.dowse@reading.ac.uk) .

 

Erasmus Days (16 October 2020)

erasmus days screenshot

On 16 October 2020 the Erasmus & Study Abroad organised an institutional celebration of our longstanding participation in the Erasmus programme – part of the wider European Union #ErasmusDays celebrations (taking place between 15-17 October).

Students, staff and alumni provided testimony, images, videos and stories about their Erasmus experiences – both incoming and outgoing – highlighting what Erasmus means to them, how Erasmus has benefitted them and sharing information about their experiences.

The day included:

  • Live Q&A about the Erasmus programme
  • Loads of social media – quizzes, sharing images and stories etc
  • Our first Erasmus & Study Abroad podcast (with contributions from staff and students).
  • Video from our Pro Vice-Chancellor International talking about the importance of Erasmus and mobility schemes, in general.

Lots of information and wonderful stories shared on the day, much of which is still available on our website at: https://studyabroad.reading.ac.uk/erasmusdays2020/

Thanks to all who contributed to making the day an enjoyable success and reaffirming that mobility programmes such as Erasmus play an important part in student’s academic and personal development and growth.

 

Erasmus & Study Abroad team

ERASMUS+ Staff Mobility, University of Bologna, Rimini Campus

From 01-05 April 2019, Dr Tamagnini and Dr Widera from the Reading School of Pharmacy spent a week at the beautiful Rimini campus of the University of Bologna (Italy) to deliver seminars and lectures on Neuroscience and Cell biology to Pharmacy undergraduate and PhD students at the Rimini campus.

Rimini, Bridge of Tiberius.

Founded in 268 BC and located at the Adriatic coast of the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, Rimini is mostly known for its stunning golden beaches, impressive historic architecture and excellent food: above all, its luscious selection of seafood, prepared with love and mastery, and the flat bread known as piadina (almost a holy institution for the locals – aka: romagnoli –, including Dr Tamagnini).

Statue of Pope Paul V on Cavour square

Local seafood in Rimini

Amongst historical buildings, breath-taking landscapes and divine food, the Rimini campus of the University of Bologna unravels its teaching and research offer. The University of Bologna, the oldest university in the Western world and founded in 1088, is the number one in European rankings for ERASMUS+ mobility. UoB currently hosts over 85,000 students, ~6000 of which are enrolled at the Rimini campus where 19 degree courses are offered, including the single cycle degree (combined BSc and MSc degree) in Pharmacy.

The Reading School of Pharmacy – University of Bologna ERASMUS+ student exchange programme has been first established by the Study Abroad coordinators Prof Vincenza Andrisano (Bologna) and Dr Darius Widera (Reading) in the Academic Year 2017/18 and extended to cover staff exchange in 2018/19. Since then, both Schools have initiated an even closer collaboration and are currently co-developing a dual degree PhD programme.

Dr Widera delivering a lecture to Part 4 Pharmacy students

During the visit, Drs Tamagnini and Widera delivered a series of lectures for Rimini-based students of Pharmacy at different stages of progression, had small group discussions wih PhD students and academics and discussed future opportunities resulting from the exchage programme and the formal collaboration between the two Schools. In addition to teaching and administration-related activities, the ERASMUS+ staff mobility included visiting the facilities at the Rimini campus and last but not least enjoying the history of Rimini, the seaside and fantastic local food.

Dr Widera`s teaching sessions tailored for Part 2, 3 and 4 students were focused on the impact of inflammation on neurodegenative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease whereas Dr Tamagini delivered sessions on the electrophysiological aspects of memory, Alzheimer`s disease and dementia.

Dr Tamagnini teaching Part 2 students the impact of neurophysiology in memory and dementia.

In conclusion, the week at the Rimini campus was a great opportunity to teach `out of the personal comfort zone` in an international environment and to interact with international students and colleagues abroad. Thus, the ERASMUS+ staff mobility programme represents a unique chance for both professional and personal development in an international context.

From left to right: Dr Tamagnini (UoR), Dr Widera (UoR), Prof Vincenza Andrisano (Study Abroad Coordinator, Pharmacy, University of Bologna, Rimini Campus), Prof Giorgio Aicardi (lead of the Physiology module, UoB, Rimini Campus).

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