In conversation with the EAIE Academy Alumni

In conversation with the EAIE Academy Alumni

The EAIE Academy Alumni community is growing with every season and we’re happy to see previous participants attending a second Academy in order to gain more in-depth knowledge on a specific topic or be challenged with new ideas. Ans Arets, Internship Coordinator at Avans University of Applied Science in the Netherlands, Pawel Bartosik, Head of Communications and Languages at College of Europe Natolin Campus in Poland and Bente Ronningen, Head of International Office at Gjøvik University Colleges in Norway shared their opinions with us.

What courses have you attended in Gothenburg and Porto?

Ans: In Gothenburg I attended ‘Marketing in the digital age’ and ‘Using benchmarking tools: improve your institutional performance in internationalisation’ and now in Porto I’m doing ‘Advising international students’.

Pawel: I attended ‘Marketing in the digital age’ and now I’m doing ‘Recruiting international students: how to stand out in a competitive market’.

Bente: I did ‘Joint and double degrees: survival kit for a successful programme’ in Gothenburg and now I’m attending ‘How to draw up and implement a strategic internationalisation plan’

What have you learnt during the courses in Gothenburg and Porto?

Ans: The ‘Marketing in the digital age’ course was very refreshing as it’s a really new topic. I also learnt about Google ads and how it all works. It opened up a new world. The Benchmarking one was also a new area. I had no experience in that at all so for me it was a very good level. As for the course here in Porto, we’re learning a lot about cultures, communication tools, Hofstede’s theories etc. Everything links very clearly to day-to-day cases, for every theory there’s an example. The whole training is active, you’re not sitting the whole day listening but you get to do a game, a role play etc. We’re sharing experiences and giving examples from our own institutions.

Pawel: In Gothenburg it was discussed that everything is happening online right now, that almost everything is going through social media channels, so you have to be there and act accordingly. And actually I had the chance to check a few of those ideas in the last few months in my college and I’m definitely sure that this is the way to communicate with young people. We had been using social media before Gothenburg but after the training I started another approach. What to communicate to reach the client is really important, so I changed a little bit my philosophy about the content and this really increased our audience – looking at the number of fans on Facebook, you have the proof that it worked. As for the course in Porto, one of the most precious things I’ve learnt is the way to collaborate with recruitment agents. This is something that I’ll develop in the next year. Knowing that I received some truly practical things, like even a version of a contract that I can use, is really useful to me. Beyond agents, the course covered a series of other channels like web, social media, events etc – everything about how to use the web for the acquisition of new students.

Bente: The course in Gothenburg provided me with the steps that I needed to follow in implementing a joint degree. It was very hands-on, which was really good because we were in the process of developing a joint degree. We had already implemented some but we wanted to make sure that for this one we’re doing the exact right thing. The information was structured in a new way for me and it was easy to apply it when back at my institution. As for the course that I’m attending here in Porto – ‘How to draw up and implement a strategic internationalisation plan’– it is very helpful as my institution is currently working on such a plan. Beyond the theory we’ve also been doing practical exercises. For instance, we played a game in which we all needed to choose a boat for our institutions and do some kind of diagnosis by answering questions such as: What type of boat is your institution? In what condition is it? Who are you within it? What are your tasks? What’s the weather like? How are the sea conditions? – and had to discuss the results in pairs.

What were the main reasons you attended the second Academy?

Ans: I found the courses in Gothenburg very useful and also, the fact that you can network a lot. I really enjoyed all the receptions and the dinners. They were very well organised and you really had the chance to talk to everybody. It’s also a very good idea to create a European network by attending the EAIE events. For example, one of my colleagues was looking for a partner and I managed to put them in touch after Gothenburg. I think it’s really nice to meet peers working in the same area and from totally different cultures. For example, now in the ‘Advising international students’ course, there are some people from Asia, last time in Gothenburg, there was somebody from South Africa, so it gives you a little a bit of perspective.

Pawel: I came to Porto because I see this course – Recruiting international students – as a continuation of the course that I did in Gothenburg. The programme is extremely rich. I’m planning to try out some things, some channels that I learnt here right upon my arrival as I did after Gothenburg.

Bente: I think the Academy offers a great platform to meet people from other institutions, having the same mission. It’s not easy to do that back home where sometimes you have the feeling you’re alone in this. To be here and discuss with other people who are in the same situation is very helpful. In our group we are planning to continue the discussion after the Academy and will try to help each other in implementing the plans. Also, it’s good to be able to go in-depth into some issues because at home you don’t have the time to do that.

If you attended one of the EAIE Academies, you are part of the Academy Alumni and can be a member of the LinkedIn group we have created for you to continue the discussions you started during the training.

If you missed the Academy in Porto, you can join us in Birmingham from 15–19 April 2013! Check the topics that we will cover.