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Queen Mary welcomes university staff from 16 countries across the globe

Queen Mary University of London hosted its first Erasmus+ Staff Training Week at the Mile End Campus last week, which was attended by participants from 24 higher education institutions in 16 different countries.

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Erasmus+ is the European Union’s flagship exchange programme for students and staff. The Erasmus+ Staff Training Week facilitated the exchange of innovative ideas between experts in the field.

Wiebke Leugers, Erasmus+ Manager at Queen Mary, said: “The framework of the Erasmus+ Staff Training Week allows everyone involved to share best practice and develop professionally. Following the event, attendees will disseminate their ideas with their local and wider communities. The event also shows our visitors what Queen Mary, the East End and London have to offer as a study destination for their students.”

A “hidden gem” in East London

During the visit, attendees exchanged best practice in their fields through specially organised workshops and networking sessions.

Camilo Villa Moreno, from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia said: “For me it’s very nice to see that we, all coming from different countries, have very similar challenges in our positions.

“During the week we have been discussing the challenges that we face but also sharing solutions. It’s been really helpful to see that we have many similar challenges but there are many possibilities to solve them.”

The participants also attended a programme of social events that highlighted the local culture surrounding the Queen Mary campus in East London.

Roberto de Gea Canovas, from the University of Murcia, Spain, said: “Queen Mary is a hidden gem in East London. It’s a top research university providing a lot of opportunities for international students in terms of study and research.

“Even the name of the office, the ‘Global Opportunities Office’, says a lot about the ideas that Queen Mary has and displays what international education is all about.”

Celebrating diversity

Despite hailing from diverse origins and institutional structures, attendees found similarities and differences in their departments and specialities.

Barbara Jaeger, from the University of Tübingen, Germany said: “The event has been very enlightening, fun, and I’ve felt honoured to be part of it. I treasured the interactive parts where we could exchange knowledge with our international colleagues, which made me realise that everyone faces different challenges.

“I was especially impressed with Queen Mary’s Careers & Enterprise and how they support students in special situations into jobs.”

International Strategy

Professor Colin Grant, Vice-Principal (International), said: “With students and staff from 162 nationalities, Queen Mary is a university that champions multiculturalism. Commitment to excellence and openness lies at the heart of our International Strategy, so it was a pleasure to welcome colleagues from Africa, South America, Asia and Europe to learn from one another and celebrate diversity. Although the university has expertise in many fields, exchanging best practice is crucial to strengthening existing relationships and fostering new links.”  

Queen Mary’s International Strategy aims to offer the best possible international mobility opportunities to staff, and Queen Mary staff involved in delivering its Erasmus+ Staff Training Week have been encouraged to participate in the Erasmus+ Programme themselves and undertake a staff training mobility.

The event was organised by Queen Mary’s Global Opportunities Office in collaboration with the Careers & Enterprise and Library services teams.

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Jake Bonnyman
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