Milda Balse, School Administrator in the Department of English & Languages, talks about her time at the University of Gottingen

Group photo Erasmus May 2016  Williamite monastery

This year I decided to try the Erasmus+ staff exchange as part of my professional development plan. I must admit, I could not have excepted more. I took part in the University of Göttingen‘s (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) 10th International Erasmus Staff Training Week. The programme was perfectly balanced, loaded with both training and social activities. It was a very busy week, set in the lovely and lively historic town of Göttingen. The University buildings are spread all over the town (although everything is within walking distance, it is advisable to hire a bike!).
The social programme was filled with guided tours, lunches and dinners and couples-of-beers, everything organized and perfectly timed in a precise German manner. I was most excited to visit Der Göttinger Karzer (the student jail of the olden days), aka ‘the Hotel for Academic Freedom’ – truly impressive, as all the carvings and writings on the walls, doors and floors by the students serving their time there have been preserved. Another impressive visit was to the charming historic town of Witzenhausen, known as the romantic cherry town in the valley of the river Werra, and the Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, established in a former Williamite monastery – a beautiful medieval abbey.
For the training programme our group of over 30 people of 20 different nationalities were divided into 5 smaller groups, including IT, Librarians, International Office, Academic Affairs and Secretaries. The programmes were tailored to suit our interests, and to give us as much information as possible. The organisation was excellent, and I really felt very special, and very welcome in all the faculties and research centres that I visited. Every member of staff took steps above and beyond what is required of them to show me their work, to demonstrate their facilities, and to answer my questions. I was interested to learn how some processes are very similar despite us being in different countries. I also came back with some new ideas, which I will try to implement shortly. I feel that my visit was mutually beneficial, as I had an opportunity to present my ideas and suggestions, and received some very good feedback.
I am normally reserved about staff training events, however, this experience has made me feel very enthusiastic about them. It was a very useful, fruitful and informative experience and most certainly worth every minute. I look forward to the opportunity to take part in more exchange events in the future.