In an increasingly interconnected world, fostering international collaboration and cultural exchange has become more critical. ERASMUS, the renowned European Union mobility program, offers a remarkable opportunity for academic staff members to engage in professional development, exchange knowledge, and contribute to the internationalization of higher education institutions. With its rich history and commitment to excellence, Thomas More University in Belgium provides an ideal backdrop for hosting an international staff week, allowing participants to experience first-hand the benefits of the ERASMUS staff mobility program. Dr Ain Naadia binti Mazlan from UTM International and Dr Suhana Mohamed Sultan from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering was selected to participate in the ERASMUS mobility program with Thomas More University from 13th to 17th March 2023.
Dr. Suhana and Dr. Naadia, during networking meet up in Thomas More University Campus Antwerp.
The ERASMUS staff mobility program benefits participants, host institutions, and the wider academic community. It provides staff members a unique chance to enhance their professional skills, broaden their horizons, and gain exposure to diverse teaching and learning environments. Through cross-cultural interactions, participants develop intercultural competencies, adaptability, and a global mindset, which they can bring back to their home institutions, enriching the educational experiences of their students.
For host institutions like Thomas More University, the international staff week contributes to the institution’s internationalization strategy; they offer an opportunity to showcase the university’s strengths, expertise, and research initiatives to a global audience, attracting potential collaborations and fostering the exchange of ideas. Additionally, hosting international staff enhances the multicultural environment on campus, enriching the educational experience for both staff and students alike.
The program consists of five days of connecting networks with 203 other academicians worldwide. The program’s highlight includes an international staff meet-up in Campus Antwerp with a historical city tour and a keynote talk on “multidisciplinary in teaching” by Dr. Nava Shaked. The delegation was later divided into multiple sessions to give lectures to Thomas More University students according to their expertise. The International delegations also pitch in on the multidisciplinary Day workshops for students on the fourth day in Belgium. In this multidisciplinary day, student groups must find a solution, using Design Thinking Methodology to explore solutions for SDG issues. On the final day, both Dr. Naadia and Dr. Suhana went for a campus visit around Thomas More Campus Geel.
with Host from Thomas More University
During city tour
International students and lecturers during the sharing session
Hosting an international staff week at the university level serves multiple purposes, aligning with the overarching goals of ERASMUS and the institution’s commitment to fostering global citizenship. The international staff week provides a platform for academics from different countries to come together, exchange ideas, and gain insights into various educational systems, pedagogical approaches, and research methodologies. It creates a space for participants to build networks, explore potential collaboration opportunities, and deepen their understanding of cultural diversity.
The initiative embodies the spirit of ERASMUS, connecting educators from diverse backgrounds and laying the foundation for a more inclusive, interconnected future in higher education.