Erasmus Staff Mobility Success Story 2012

The Vocational College of Wood Technology School Maribor provides two Short Cycle Higher Education programmes awarded with 120 ECTS, Wood Technology and Design of Materials. So, most of our staff covers the fields of natural and technological sciences. Throughout the years all VET and HE institutions have suffered from lack of interest and motivation for international mobility among their staff of natural and technological sciences in contrast to their colleagues of social sciences. This curious phenomenon proved to be true for students and staff equally. As our institution is technically oriented international mobility and internationalization was something that both staff and students agreed is necessary and even recommended but very few saw this as their own opportunity. The usual replies were: “That is fantastic, a lifetime opportunity, but that is not for me, my English is not that good, I have never been to …, etc.” Finally, after long hours of conversation and interviews the thought entered my mind that they all had one thing in common and that was the uneasy feeling of the unknown, there might occur problems that are not planed, adapting to new environment, language, customs, …. If we take all of this into consideration it is even harder for a professor to decide for such an adventure than for a student (students will follow their professors’ example). Therefore, we decided to encourage our staff with a mobility that was prepared mainly by the headmistress and the coordinator and was as such offered to the staff. As it was not any more an individual action, but a group action, the response exceeded our expectation. The staff from all the various professional fields applied and joined the first “massive” international mobility. Each staff member had to prepare for its own field of work and the mobility experience was crowned with success. Not only did all the colleagues, after an hour of getting to know the new host colleagues, totally forget all their language barriers, they fell so much into discussion, each of them in their own scientific field so at the end of our first day of international mobility we came together and could not stop exchanging new methods, ideas, techniques, etc. The following evenings proved to be very beneficiary for curriculum enrichment, as very rarely so many colleagues spend so much time together, and new very fruitful interdisciplinary project ideas saw the light of day, and many ongoing projects were discussed, and better solutions found for the issues arisen. To see with what enthusiasm and motivation elder professors exchanged the newly gained experience with their younger colleagues, so many previous obstacles and barriers just faded away.