Staff Mobility: Learning new approaches in Hong Kong
Adele David, European Programmes Advisor shares her staff mobility experience.
Adele spent a week at the University of Hong Kong spending tie with the university’s International Affairs Office. The experience gave her the opportunity to learn about different approaches used by other universities to promote international experiences.
Can you tell us a little about your experience?
I spent a week at the University of Hong Kong from July 8th to 12th, learning about HKU’s international programmes and student initiatives. My visit involved meeting with staff from across the International Affairs Office, discuss student exchange programmes, student support initiatives, and also discover the campus and its facilities.
What motivated you to apply for a training experience?
I manage the Erasmus+ Traineeship scheme at the University, which provides funding for students to gain some work experience abroad in the EU. I was keen to learn more about how international programmes were managed outside of Europe, particularly in East Asia which is an area of particular interest to me.
How did you set up the visit - did you have previous contacts at the institution?
My colleague in charge of staff mobility arranged the visit by contacting HKU. I didn’t have any previous contacts there, but my staff week programme was organised by the International Affairs Office, so it was very relevant to my current role.
What were the professional benefits of your visit? From a professional perspective, it was great to be able to compare HKU’s international strategy to that of Edinburgh. Both universities have a very similar outlook when it comes to internationalisation, and face similar successes and challenges. Some of HKU’s initiatives closely followed those of the University of Edinburgh, while others inspired me to consider our programmes from a different perspective.
What about the personal benefits?
My visit to HKU confirmed my interest in East-Asian relations, which is something I would like to pursue further in my career.
It was also a great opportunity to stay in Hong Kong beyond my staff visit to enjoy the city and learn more about the local culture. I went on several excursions in and around Hong Kong, and even did a dumpling cooking class, which I would thoroughly recommend!
How did your participation benefit students/colleagues back at Edinburgh?
I identified the three key initiatives that had most impressed me at the University of Hong Kong, and shared them with my colleagues in a presentation at our team meeting. I felt it was a good way to share what I had learnt and perhaps inspire some ideas for future international projects.
To what degree did the Erasmus funding cover your visit?
The Erasmus funding covered my flights, accommodation and most expenses during my staff mobility week. I also decided to extend my stay in Hong Kong for another five days afterwards, which was self-funded.
To what degree did your training visit meet your expectations?
It probably exceeded my expectations, both from a professional and personal perspective. I didn’t have any preconceptions about what I would learn at HKU, but the staff there did a great job at organising relevant meetings and highlighting particular programmes that were relevant to my current job at UoE. I also enjoyed meeting new colleagues and sharing thoughts and ideas about current and future initiatives.
Would you repeat or recommend the experience?
I would love to! I would be interested in visiting other institutions in Asia to gain a better understanding of the specific stakes and challenges of international exchanges in that region.
My advice to ICM participants would be to embrace the unexpected! Even if you think there is not an exact match between your role at UoE and at a partner university, don’t hesitate to apply. It’s a great opportunity to discover a new culture while gaining a fresh perspective on your role.
Find out more about taking part in a staff teaching or training on the Go Abroad - Staff website