Februari 27, 2024

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Expanding Internationalization Strategy Through Erasmus+ Staff Mobility Programme @Vilnius Tech, Lithuania

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has been an active partner in Erasmus+, which brings opportunities to higher education communities participating in various inter-institutional programs. Recently, two representatives from UTM, Dr. Shazwin Mat Taib, Deputy Director of UTM Campus Sustainability (UTMCS), and Hjh. Nor Azlinda Abu Bakar, Deputy Registrar of UTM International (UTM-i), were selected to participate in the Erasmus+ Staff Mobility program hosted by one of UTM’s partner institutions, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (Vilnius Tech) in Lithuania.

The five-day event, organized as an International Staff Week (ISW), brought together 25 participants of teaching and administrative staff members from 13 countries, representing Vilnius Tech’s partner universities from around the world.

The event aimed to develop international collaboration and highlight the relevance of cultural flexibility, inclusivity, and digital education transformation, leaving the participants with fresh ideas and remarkable insights, showcasing global connectivity and knowledge exchange. This exposure aligns with UTM International’s recent focus on expanding collaborations and empowering UTM’s position in global reach and prominence.

Participants of Erasmus+ International Staff Week (ISW) 2023 at Vilnius Tech.

The five-day program commenced with a welcoming session by Mr. Adas Meskenas, Vice-Director for Strategic Partnership. The ISW was structured by Vilnius Tech to include talks, presentations, workshops, tours, sharing of experiences and good practices, networking sessions, guided city tours, and activities exploring cultural sites.

One of the highlights of the event was the discussion on internationalization strategies, where Vilnius Tech’s International Office shared their experience and best practices in building and expanding international connections, highlighting the targets and principles outlined in the Latest Charter for Higher Education 2021-2027 as future networking focus.

Besides strengthening ties with international counterparts, the ISW aimed to contribute to the development of knowledge and competencies of the participants. Participants engaged in dynamic discussions, explored opportunities for cooperation, and identified new trends in the global environment.

The dialogue aimed at promoting partnerships, joint research projects, and exchange programs that ultimately increase intercultural understanding and knowledge sharing.

 

Welcoming Session by the Vice-Director for Strategic Partnership (Vilnius Tech) & Vilnius Tech International Staff Week secretariat.

Another interesting topic covered during the event was hands-on activities of digital education transformation. The experts showcased the latest tools and technologies that are revolutionizing the learning experience, making it more engaging and interactive. Throughout the program, digital tools played a key role in facilitating collaboration and interaction.

Participants were able to take advantage of innovative platforms such as Padlet, Canva, and Mentimeter to brainstorm, visualize ideas, and participate in real-time polls. The seamless integration of these tools created an immersive experience that turned events into living hubs of creativity and innovation.

The campus pitching sessions were a key highlight, providing a platform for members to exhibit their institutions’ unique strengths. Representatives from each university outlined their academic projects, research programs, and ongoing international collaborations. These meetings led to valuable conversations and paved the way for potential partnerships and scholarly exchanges that could redefine the future of education.

Using Canva tools for Pitch Your University presentation session.

Cultural show at Vilnius Tech & Traditional food during dinner.

Certificates awarded to participants.

Social, cultural and educational visit guided city tour.

In keeping with the event’s focus on cultural adaptability, inclusion, and diversity, participants were immersed in a variety of social and cultural activities. These events ranged from cultural performances and culinary experiences to guided tours of historical landmarks and museums. A guided city walk tour around Vilnius Old Town, which is also known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, allowed participants to visit many churches, residential houses, cultural and architectural monuments, and museums.

The hosts also showcased how social and cultural activities can bring people together, foster cultural exchange, and create lasting memories. Participants were treated to a Vilnius cultural experience with music and dance performances and a variety of culinary delights that immersed them in Lithuanian rich traditions.

A visit to the Creativity and Innovation Centre called Linkmenu Fabrikas, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Environmental Engineering, research laboratories, and an incineration plant gave participants a unique opportunity to witness cutting-edge research in action.

This opportunity not only encourages collaboration among UTM researchers but also inspires and encourages more student and supporting staff mobility to benefit from these state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge projects.

Visiting creativity and innovation workshops at Linkmenu Fabrikas.

Visiting lab at Faculty of Environmental Engineering & Incineration Plant.

Participants with the Vilnius Tech team.

A courtesy visit was also arranged with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Eglė Marčiulaitienė, who had visited the Faculty of Civil Engineering, UTM twice under the Erasmus+ mobility program in 2019 and 2022, to discuss potential collaboration for the Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) program application. Mobility opportunities can help transform the educational landscape and push the boundaries of innovation, aligning with UTM’s tagline, “Innovating Solutions.”

The event was a great success, thanks to the excellent hospitality from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University members. The participants departed with a renewed sense of purpose, motivation, and an expanded network of international connections.”

A courtesy visit was also arranged with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Eglė Marčiulaitienė, who had visited the Faculty of Civil Engineering, UTM twice under the Erasmus+ mobility program in 2019 and 2022, to discuss potential collaboration for the Capacity Building in Higher Education (CBHE) program application. Mobility opportunities can help transform the educational landscape and push the boundaries of innovation, aligning with UTM’s tagline, “Innovating Solutions.”

The event was a great success, thanks to the excellent hospitality from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University members. The participants departed with a renewed sense of purpose, motivation, and an expanded network of international connections.”

By: Hjh. Nor Azlinda Abu Bakar & Dr Shazwin Mat Taib

Hjh. Nor Azlinda Abu Bakar is a Deputy Registrar of UTM International (UTM-i).

Dr. Shazwin Mat Taib is a Deputy Director of UTM Campus Sustainability (UTMCS).

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