Over 50 delegates from partner universities and organisations in Albania, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Jordan, Kosovo, Montenegro, Palestine and Russia arrived on campus for the University of Bradford’s first Erasmus+ International Staff Week on Monday, 21 October. The five-day event, to celebrate our Erasmus+ KA107 partnerships with 27 universities and organisations in these countries, focused on themes of partnerships, employability and student engagement, and acted as an opportunity to build on relations with our partners by welcoming them to the University and Bradford District.
For the Erasmus+ KA107 project, the University of Bradford has this year been awarded more funding than any university in England, meaning that students of all backgrounds and financial situations can be supported to gain international experience through study and work placements in and outside of the European Union. This reinforces the message of our recent award of UK University for Social Inclusion, that the University of Bradford is dedicated to removing barriers to participation for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds by supporting all students to study or work abroad.
International experience provides vital skills valued by employers, teachers and students, and has been proven to improve academic performance and employability, as well as providing skills in intercultural awareness, competence and understanding and equipping students with the skills to meet the challenges of the 21st century and the global job market.
With the event’s themes in mind, our Erasmus+ Staff Week featured talks from the University of Bradford’s Careers and Employability Services, the Students’ Union and the University’s Academic Services as well an overview of each Faculty. We also showcased the collaboration between the Universities of Bradford and Sao Paulo in the field of neuroscience, and networks founded at the University of Bradford, including the World Technology Universities Network and the Transnational Alliance for Health-Related Research.
To engage University of Bradford students, we also held a Study Abroad Fair in which our partner universities promoted their universities, countries and courses to students interested in studying abroad. Opportunities are available to students of all levels and disciplines and range from full year study placements for Business and Management students in Canada to summer research placements for Pharmacy students in Jordan and Egypt; from work placements in Peace Park organisations in Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro to short, immersive summer schools in Russia and China.
Of course, we could not let the week go by without taking our delegates to explore some of Bradford District’s industrial and literary heritage. On Wednesday, 23 October, we took an afternoon visit to the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth on the Keighley and Worth Valley steam train. As well as being a fun – and thankfully dry – afternoon in the countryside, it also highlighted just one of the many places for their students to visit while studying at the University of Bradford and living in the region.
Overall, the Staff Week was a great chance to meet our partners, engage in discussions concerning our themes of partnerships, employability and student engagement, and enjoy showing our partner institutions what the University of Bradford and the region has to offer incoming exchange students, as well as promoting the international opportunities available to University of Bradford students wanting to gain international experience during their studies here.
Alison Hedley, Employer & Placement Services Manager, University of Bradford