When Miguel Hernández University of Elche, one of the most reputable though young and very modern university announced staff week to be held November 7-11, 2016 I was willing to apply for the visit for quite a number of reasons. Some of them are as follows: mobility to MHU offered the opportunity to look into the host university outstanding services such as occupational observatory, services for the university graduates, service of students with disabilities and service of communication, to share expertise and ideas on the above topics as well as to acquire of experience and good practices in organization of international events, which are relevant to my duties and activities at the sending institution. Also, networking and establishing contacts with the colleagues for further cooperation in joined projects and events were among the objectives of the mobility.
During the mobility I took part in the work sessions offered by the UMH departments relevant to my interests: Occupational Observatory Service of Students, with Disabilities, Alumni UMH, subsequent appointments were made the with the above departments for more information and discussion, as well as with the Head of the Department of Foreign Relations. One of the highlights of the mobility was the presentation of the sending institution at the UMH Radio. For me it was quite a challenge to make such a presentation and to make it well, as only the voice of the presenter was broadcast.
In addition to the work sessions, there were also cultural and social interesting activities and events, including meals featuring national cuisine, health break – a mini-gym, very rejuvenating activity, a work shop „The Art of Cooking Spanish Tapas Experience”, Guided tour of Elche, visit to the Palmeral of Elche and more. Networking inside and outside the staff week program is by all means an essential part of the visit.
The Erasmus Coordinators both sending and receiving were very efficient, so that everything went smoothly in this area also.
The experience gained during the 2nd International Erasmus+ Staff Training Week at MHU through networking, benchmarking, sharing expertise, ideas and best practices, will be relevant when making decisions, coping with the situations at the sending institutions, and proposing innovative ways and solutions in holding international events, rendering the HEI more visible and more attractive to both local and foreign students, academics, researchers and professional staff.
Perhaps, organizational moments can be mentioned here – to buy the tickets, to book the hotel. Those turned out to be really simple and easy through the Internet. I bought the air tickets some 40 days before the mobility, which is good practice, because one can get better prices. One of my concerns was how do I adapt to the weather in Spain: it was snowing in Riga, but +24C in Spain. It turned out to be not a problem at all! Jeans and sports shoes can be a solution, which was also the dress code at the receiving university – their campuses are vast territories do not allow for anything else.
We believe that the staff weeks offer a great opportunity to establish contacts not only with the hosts but also with the guests – other participants. It helps to have sufficient promotional materials of your home HEI, as well as collect and record the details of your new contacts meticulously. Take photos, exchange them on FACEBOOK etc.
The mobility created opportunities for spin-offs and follow-ups the activities started during the mobility at MHU with the contacts acquired during the visit, also among the guests of the staff week.
In addition to the work sessions, we are also providing interesting activities and events, including welcome and farewell dinners, a visit to the Clot de Galvany park, which forms part of the series of ponds in the Balsares area of Elche, The Art of Cooking Spanish Tapas Experience, and a visit to the picturesque town of Altea.