'It's invaluable': why studying abroad isn't only for students
“Opportunity favours the bold,” quips Deborah Wright, assistant director of the MBA Program at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business (JMSB).
Boldly going where few university staff members have gone before, Wright travelled to the SGH Warsaw School of Economics last fall to participate in a best-practices exchange with 16 other administrators from universities across the globe.
During her week-long trip, Wright sat in on a series of talks and workshops which offered professional development to key university personnel.
The opportunity came through Concordia International and the Erasmus+ KA107 program. The Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility provides faculty members, staff and students with funding to travel abroad — in this case, to Poland.
The SGH team successfully applied for the grant and issued invitations to representatives from other Erasmus+ institutional members, including Concordia.
Wright's duties at the university include supporting the selection and registration of both incoming and outgoing study-abroad MBA students, but this was her first time participating in an exchange.
It was a unique and important immersive experience, she says.
“I'm so appreciative of the care and organization taken with our group, notably the valuable cultural and historical visits included in our trip. It really gave me time to think and reflect on what a student faces when participating in an academic exchange.”
From Poland to Montreal
In April, Concordia welcomed Monika Komorek, SGH’s incoming students officer, to Montreal. While on campus, she shadowed members of the Concordia International team and met with JMSB administrators and faculty, as well as with members of other units throughout the university.
“I'm so impressed with everything the university has to offer to international students,” she says, noting specifically how well-connected units are through the Student Information System.
Komorek also remarked on how Concordia International staff go out of their way to create a well-rounded experience for exchange students. Similarly, she appreciated the social activities organized by the International Students Office, such as board games and painting nights.
Like Wright, Komorek says that participating in the Erasmus+ international mobility program has allowed her to put herself in her students’ shoes — especially seeing that it’s her first time overseas.
“The opportunity fits in perfectly with the SGH internationalization strategy. I’m hoping that some of the knowledge I gained at Concordia will help my colleagues and me to hone our entrepreneurial skills.”
During her visit, Komorek met with a Concordia student who will be attending SGH next fall as part of the Concordia Student Exchange Program. The insight and advice she offered was beneficial to both the student and Pauliina Rouleau, Concordia International liaison officer.
Stronger international collaboration
Rouleau also traveled to Poland this month for International Training Week thanks to Erasmus+ K107 funding.
“This type of exchange is invaluable in terms of staff development,” she says.
“Not only does it improve communication between partner institutions, it also helps to deepen the relationship to intensify international collaboration.”
While in Poland, Rouleau participated in SGH’s Erasmus+ KA107 international staff training week where she attended several seminars and workshops, and made useful contacts with SGH’s staff and faculty.
She also met with one SGH student who’s coming to Concordia on exchange this fall, and was able to help prepare her for her study-abroad experience in Montreal.
Learn more about staff mobility opportunities with Concordia International.