Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra organized its 1st International Erasmus+ Staff Training Week
In the week from June 12th until June 16, 2017, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra (abbrev. UKF) hosted its first International Erasmus+ Staff Training Week intended mainly for Erasmus Coordinators and other staff who are working at our partner universities abroad. The Staff Week entitled "Connected via Erasmus / Quantity vs. Quality of Mobility" was attended by eleven colleagues from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland), Universitat de Valencia (Spain), Jagellonian University in Cracow (Poland), University of Bielsko-Biala (Poland), Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic) and other universities which haven´t been our partners yet - SMK - University of Applied Social Sciences (Lithuania), Adana Science and Technology University (Turkey), N.I. Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod (Russian Federation). Mostly Erasmus coordinators at the rectorate or faculty level attended, but coordinators responsible for the administration of foreign students, management of internships and international projects were also heartily welcomed.
The introductory presentations of international participants were very interesting and provided cross-sectional information about their university and activities to present their work and experience in Erasmus+, to engage other colleagues, discuss possible cooperation and motivate students and employees for an exchange.
We have prepared three presentations for our colleagues from abroad: the first outlined the mission and orientation of the UKF and its faculties, the offer of study programmes taught also in foreign languages, activities within international cooperation, the second was devoted to the introduction of the Erasmus program and mobilities development at UKF, quality aspects and recognition of student mobility within E+ KA103. The third presentation offered our colleagues valuable information on the management of the E+ project KA107, including our experience and recommendations for managing this project. Many of the participants have long-lasting experience with managing mobilities within Erasmus+ programme and its predecessors, and it was great to hear that three of the universities, like the UKF, have already started cooperation within Erasmus + KA107 with countries outside the EU and the EEA. Therefore it was possible to consult their experience and ideas in this area, too. Participants were also interested in presentations of representatives of all our faculties about their success in managing Erasmus projects and were pleasantly surprised by the number and focus of the projects that our departments or workplaces coordinate. The last day of Staff Week was enriched by presentation of our students from ESN UKF - UKF's student volunteer organization, which offers Buddy service to all foreign students coming to UKF. Even though our section is not so large and the number of foreign students still does not reach the desired volume, the section has been awarded a positive acknowledgement on the national ESN level and our colleagues from abroad had the opportunity to see a wide range of activities ESN deals in relation to accepted foreign students.
Since we know it´s better to see once than hear a hundred times, the official programme of the Staff Week was complemented by a guided UKF campus tour to visit some of our buildings and workplaces (Student Dormitory Nitra, Media Centre of the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education and University Library of UKF) connected with joint dinner with the participants.
Nevertheless, Staff Week was more than just presentation of what our university offers and carries out. Foreign students and colleagues coming to Nitra should also get acquainted with the wider environment of our university and to integrate in it as much as they can in assistance with our International Relations Office. The first touch with our country and its language mediated short Survival Slovak Language Course on beginner´s level for our participants offered by the Language Center of our Faculty of Arts, which offers basic Slovak Language Course for incoming Erasmus students each semester. Staying in Nitra embellished two cultural packages: "In the Footsteps of Nitra Legends" (a visit of Nitra's historical attractions joined with coffee tasting) and "The Journey through Sacral Heritage" (a visit to the St. Beňadik Monastery joined with traditional mead tasting in Nitra).
We are very pleased to have the opportunity to organize our first Erasmus + Staff Training Week to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Erasmus+ programme also this way. The aim of this week full of exciting discussions was to strengthen international co-operation with our partners and create a platform for mutual meetings and exchange of know-how and good practice, which we certainly succeeded to achieve.