Thursday, 3 May 2012

Erasmus Staff Week in Lisbon

IPL Staff Week participants at the School of Education
As I was sitting on the airplane on Saturday, I couldn’t help but wonder how it was only a week since I last sat there – that time only to go take off to Lisbon. My Erasmus staff exchange week went by flying. I spent it in Lisbon, Portugal where the International office staff of Instituto Politécnico Lisboa (IPL) hosted me and almost 40 other participants from all over Europe. 

There were not only International office staff attending, but a great variety of university staff; a librarian from Spain, teachers from Austria and The Netherlands, international coordinators from Sweden, Latvia, Poland and Greece and many others. From Finland there were participants also from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Oulu University of Applied Sciences as well as Savonia University of Applied Sciences.

It is custom that every participant holds a brief presentation about their institute, and that is how I got to know the other people taking part and how they are connected to IPL. TAMK has an agreement with IPL within the field of media studies, so I also visited the School of Media and Communication in IPL.

 Talking to my host, Carla Ruivo and other colleagues gave me an idea about European students’ exchanges, the challenges and triumphs we share. I was able to see the current trends among Portuguese students when applying for exchanges as it was time of application round for IPL. 

When it comes to teacher and staff exchanges, I was proud to tell how active our staff members really are! We have also a great number of international projects compared to many European institutions of higher education.

On Wednesday, I got a glimpse of what it is to be an exchange student in Lisbon, when I tagged along the representatives from Metropolia UAS, Heidi and Anu, as they met up with their student who is currently doing his exchange in Lisbon. It was interesting to hear a student’s voice about the level of education and general living in Portugal. 

On that day, Portuguese people had a bank holiday in the honor of Revolução dos Cravos -  Carnation Revolution. Red carnations were everywhere as people came out to the streets to celebrate the non-violent revolution after long years of dictatorship.


The most interesting part of the week came always by evening, when shared a meal among us colleagues. Through dinner, there was vivid conversation, laughter and lively moments that gave more profound knowledge about their institutions and field of work, and about their cultures. The dinners lasted for hours and it was easy to pick up the conversation next day at IPL.

All in all, Erasmus staff exchange week was an exciting adventure. I got new ideas for my work but also the week broadened once again my cultural knowledge, gave me new friends and the possibility to see the best parts of the beautiful city of Lisbon.

The International Week for Non-Teaching staff in TAMK will be held in June, so it was perfect time for me to benchmark some ideas regarding the on-going planning and arrangements for the week. I’m convinced it will be splendid, I sure did enjoy my exchange.

Text & Photos: Noora Järventaus, International Coordinator

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