Staff Week in Berlin: Anđela Russo
University of Arts in Belgrade, International Relations Office
Erasmus+ Mobility for Training at:
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Erasmus+ grant for staff mobility allowed me to participate in the International Staff Traning Week in Germany. The staff week took place at the Freie Universität Berlin and lasted from June 26th to July 1st.
This enriching professional experience helped me further develop skills I apply in daily work, connect with colleagues from higher education institutions in Europe, Latin America and Asia, and reinforce intercultural competencies necessary for successful engagment in the international environment.
The program of the staff training week was developed by the five units of Freie Universität Berlin’s central university administration – the Career Service, the Welcome Service for staff, the University Library, the Research Division and the Office of International Affairs. These five units developed six interactive programs to engage with colleagues from all over the world during the week. The programs allowed enough time for sharing expertise, developing competencies and peer learning as well as for networking, strengthening partnerships and socially interacting with colleagues from all six tracks.
I was accepted to participate in the track dediccated to the employees of international offices. The working group consisted of 25 selected participants from all over the world – European countries, Japan, Brazil, China, India, Chile and many more. The key topics that this track covered were horizontal priorities of the Erasmus+ funding programme, different types of projects this programme can fund, different aspects of coordination of Erasmus+ KA2 projects and European University Alliances with special focus on Una Europe alliance.
This staff mobility contributed to the further advancement of my skills related to developement of project proposals, project consortium building, project coordination, implementation quality assurance, financial and narrative reporting and project administration. Furthermore, in addition to exchanging good practices and expanding my professional network, connecting with other participants reinforced the sense of solidarity with colleagues in other international relations offices facing similar challenges and helped find new motivation and enthusiasm. Apart from skills connected to project coordination, the international environment created an opportunity for the development of key soft skills necessary for work in the international relations office and on Erasmus+ partnership and capacity building projects, such as intercultural awareness and intrecultural communication.
The topics addressed at the staff week were highly relevant and had lately become imperative for most universities, such as keeping pace with new funding possibilities and identifying synergies between different international projects. In times of unsure budgets, looming political crises, climate change, a pandemic and constantly changing frameworks, the program was dedicated to the ways we could strategically use existing and long-standing programmes to create an added value and thrive. At the International Staff Training Week 2023, we looked at different aspects and angles of funding opportunities within Erasmus+ and how to make the most of these when it comes to creating synergies under the auspices of strategic internationalization of higher education.
Finally, I am delighted and grateful that I had the chance to take part in this mobility and the staff week in Berlin. I came back home more skilled, better connected, and further enthusiastic to work on various projects at the University of Arts in Belgrade.