In April 2016, I had the pleasure of visiting one of our partner universities, Ibn Zohr University in Agadir, Morocco, under the auspices of the ERASMUS+ Global Mobility Program. As the first UEF teacher participating in the Program, this visit provided many new experiences and enhanced my understanding of higher education in the region. It was even more pleasurable to visit the university and its new Ait Melloul campus as my host was Dr Kamal Sbiri, an UEF alumnus who is now Assistant Professor of English and the Director of the Charif Al Idrissi Research Center on Transnational Migration.
My visit consisted of a series of guest lectures on postcolonial hybridities with particular reference to Anglophone Arab literature and cultural theory. The topics were selected to stimulate the staff and students by introducing current perspectives and research trends. The issues of global mobility, migration, and cultural encounters are also central to the research profiles at both universities, which offers further collaboration opportunities. The lectures were well attended and they were followed with particularly lively discussions and questions from the floor. Issues of migration are central to contemporary Morocco, both because of traditional labour migration to Europe but also because the routes of contemporary sub-Saharan migration towards the North pass through the nation. Borders and border-crossings are then a part of everyday experience, evident in the number of forced migrants in towns like Agadir. Continue reading “Erasmus+ North-South Visit to Agadir”
‘’You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown. You travel for the unknown that reveals you within yourself.’’
Finland, Joensuu. First time when we heard about opportunity to come and stay there for five months, we could just keep on our minds one thing. Minus 30 degrees. How could we possibly survive that? After many, many stories with different points about Finland, we realized this is our wake up call. This is the time when we have to step out of our comfort zone, burst our safe bubble and just go with the flow.
After staying here for almost 4 months, we didn’t even focus on minor stuff like temperature anymore. Our goal was set on studies, meeting new people and enjoying the once-in-a-lifetime stay. During first month, we stayed within our comfort zone, adjusting to the rules new world had to offer us. As that hardest period passed, we made Joensuu our own. Within next two months, we explored this wonderful city so much, that we knew its streets better than back of our hands. Not only did we enjoy Joensuu, but we also visited other parts of Finland, with new landscapes and new adventures. Of course, Northern Lights have to be mentioned as the prettiest scenery, no matter if we just saw tiny green smudge in the sky or outstanding green light taking up the whole north! While traveling across Finland, we found ourselves understanding more about native Finnish people and their culture. Continue reading “Adventure continues”
When I grabbed my box of souvenirs from Finland from under my bed in my room in Novi Sad to take out my old student card, I felt a warm stream of excitement going through my body. Is it really happening? Am I really going back to Finland and Joensuu, the place in which I spent the most exciting year of studies and the place I love so deeply? Yes! Oh, what a great feeling it was!
Hello, everyone! My name is Tihomir. I’m a Master’s student of Ecology at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia. Right now I am on the Erasmus+ exchange semester in Joensuu. I have already been here in the whole academic year 2013/2014 by the exchange programme Campus Europae of the European University Foundation. The preparations for the two exchange periods were fairly similar, but the feelings before coming to Joensuu were very different. The first time I was a bit scared not knowing what to expect, but I quickly got to know the town and the friendly people. It was such a great year: I met so many new people from around the world, learned a fair bit of Finnish language, gained new skills, participated in many interesting events and traveled to unusual destinations. The exchange period had a big impact on me. So, naturally you can expect how excited I was to hear that few Erasmus+ places have been opened in Joensuu for the spring semester of 2016. This time I was eager to go and relive all those memories from the past. Continue reading “The return to Joensuu”
The phrase On the Move sums up quite well my university studies. During those five years, I enjoyed studying at the University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, and I am thankful that I was also able to discover other places and use every opportunity to travel and study abroad. Nearing the end of my studies, I thought it would be good to experience what it is like to work abroad, too. And what a better country in which to do this than Finland, right?
So it happened that one late January afternoon I landed in Joensuu (a town whose name was not familiar even to my friends who had spent some time in Finland in the past) and moved to a house which is not typically Finnish according to my flatmates. To me it looks Finnish enough – there is a lot of wood, a sauna and Moomin towel in the bathroom.
The first weekend in Joensuu, I decided to attend an event called Surviving winter in Finland organised by a local organisation for international students. Luckily, I came to Finland after the (for me) unimaginable period of -30˚, but some surviving tips could still come in handy. The event also included a truly Finnish experience – a sauna and swimming in a lake. After a few attempts I ended up in the icy water, something nobody who knows me and my sensitivity to cold well could believe. The reactions of international students to this experience in turn provided entertainment for the Finns present, so everybody had fun. And fortunately, I did not get pneumonia before my work placement even begun, so it counts as a success. Continue reading “Working at the UEF”
It’s been three weeks since we got off that train in Joensuu and felt the ‘’welcoming’’ touch of -30°C on our skins. Looking at the notice board in Finnish language we wondered how on earth we are supposed to survive in this land of ice and strange words. We all shared the same fear: Are we going to be able to do this? Fortunately, it didn’t take us long to leave our doubts and suspicions behind and put ourselves out there. Unlike the temperature, every place we visited and every person we met seem warm and pleasant. We fell in love with the magical white city and everything about it.
The University, which is why we came here in the first place, was a story for itself: modern and big, yet cozy and warm, full of so many colleague students with the same expectations. We looked at each other and thought: This is going to be so much fun! From that moment on, it has been just more and more interesting. We have met a lot of people with different backgrounds, and heard their stories. Our courses started, and we got so enthusiastic for learning in a new environment, and improving ourselves! Finding out all the possibilities that we have, gave us the will to get up every morning, put on three pair of socks, and go into new victories! Continue reading “Face to face with Joensuu”