Between the 17th and 21st November I spent a week with many colleagues from TAMK using an Erasmus + Training exchange. As part of an ongoing collaboration where we have been discussing a variety of opportunities, my visit was specifically based around improving my knowledge of how TAMK (where Erasmus exchanges are successfully embedded in the university culture) implements the Erasmus programme and how they administer it. At Staffordshire University, we have always participated in Erasmus exchanges but have lacked a central overview and direction due to a variety of reasons and contextual issues. The central administration of Erasmus + exchanges has recently moved under my remit so it provides an ideal moment to learn key lessons surrounding the implementation of the programme to allow us to further build on the way in which we engage with Erasmus.
Before I had even arrived, I was already learning signs of good practise with the professional and efficient communication provided by Matti Pietila in explaining my proposed schedule, hotel and travel advice and some history regarding Tampere. When I did arrive, Matti came to meet me with a warm welcome and we continued where we left off with our conversations when we recently met in Prague at the EAIE conference.
The schedule involved meetings with all the key people involved in providing an excellent service to both incoming and outgoing students and staff through Erasmus exchanges at TAMK.
Overall, the visit has been excellent and particularly useful for me to learn good practise in Erasmus administration. We have many areas of common ground; one in particular is either ends of the issue of attracting UK students to engage in exchange. It seems we can both work together to show these students the benefits of exchanges which will hopefully lead to a balanced and sustainable exchange in the future. The visit has helped to validate areas I was already implementing whilst also giving me some new ideas. I hope also that I was able to add a slightly different perspective to your work which you may have found useful and hope to maintain this mutually beneficial exchanging of experience and knowledge into future work.
More than anything, it was a great pleasure to meet such nice people who gave up their time when I know how busy they are. You are all a credit to TAMK and I look forward to welcoming your staff to Staffordshire in the future.
In particular I would like to thank Matti for developing an excellent schedule for my visit and for ensuring I found my way to each meeting.
Thank you all again.
Text: Adam Hall, International Progression Partnerships Manager, Staffordshire University
Picture: Matti Pietilä