The idea of connection is one of the cornerstones of EELISA. That is why the mobility of its people – and not only students but also faculty and staff – is key.
With the aim to deepen collaboration and strengthen ties with her colleagues at the UPM/EELISA coordination team as well as the EELISA Office, Dóra Pivarcsi-Fekete, traveled to Madrid at the beginning of May. She is the representative of all the staff members in the EELISA Executive Board and the staff representative of BME within EELISA.
In this interview, she shares her experience and what this trip meant for her.
Q. Dora, can you tell us about your background and role within BME?
A. I work at the Department of International Relations of BME for almost 7 years now. My tasks include international student recruitment, inter-institutional relations (non- Erasmus), event organization, ATHENS program coordination.
Q. What mobility opportunity were you part of?
A. I visited UPM Madrid and EELISA Office for job shadowing. The mobility was funded by the Erasmus Staff Mobility for Training. I travelled with one other colleague from BME.
Q. What were your motivations to follow this opportunity?
A. Since the very beginning of EELISA, I was involved in various parts of the planning and preparation process – meaning that I was even sitting on the ATHENS General Assembly when the first idea of applying for the European University Initiative popped up. I was interested in meeting EELISA colleagues in person, and to have a small peek into the daily work at UPM Madrid.
Whenever I participated in Erasmus Staff mobility earlier, it was always to an organized Staff Week, not a private job shadowing trip. This opportunity was quite different from those earlier, as apart from officially organized meetings, we had the space and time to discuss any direct questions, tasks and challenges arising in our work.
Q. What did you do during your time in Madrid and how would you describe the experience?
A. Our colleagues at UPM prepared a wide variety of programs and meetings for us for the week. We had the opportunity to meet not only the staff of the EELISA Office, but also co-workers from around UPM involved in EELISA, members of the International Office and professors from different Faculties/Schools of UPM. We visited several campuses, where we got an insight to the facilities and the daily student life. I believe it is quite important to see this “everyday” part of a partner institution, because we can give more first-hand information for outgoing students interested in that certain university.
After the fruitful working hours, we had a lovely time in the city, which was also a relaxing experience. We were lucky to visit the city at the time of the San Isidro’s Feast Day, that was an extra adventure during our trip.
Q. How has this experience impacted your personal and professional life?
A. It is always valuable to gather international experience, which helps me to understand the views and ideas of colleagues from around the world better. As UPM is one of our main partner universities across Europe, having personal meetings with people working in similar fields as I do enhance stronger and smoother communication within us in the future.
I have never been to Spain earlier, so I was amazed by the architecture, the friendly people, the food, and the vibrant city of Madrid in general. It was fun to discover that the Spanish specialty of “Patatas a la riojana” is very much similar to the Hungarian dish of “Paprikás krumpli”.
Q. Any challenges you found?
A. No challenges at all! 😊 I am glad to report that the application process for the Erasmus Staff Mobility for Training is quite simple and straight-forward.
The partners at UPM were very helpful all the way through the planning process and the actual visit.
Q. What would you say to other staff members who are considering the possibility of experiencing EELISA Mobility?
A. Do it as soon as you can! Meeting colleagues from other institutions gives a new kick-off to our daily – sometimes monotonous – work, so I highly encourage everyone to apply for the funding in their home institution, and use the opportunity to visit EELISA member universities.