Staff Training - useful advice

Some useful advice when planning a staff training visit

by Ewa Bjurshagen,
Executive Officer, Division for Student Affairs, Mälardalen University,

  1. Check the conditions for the scholarship with your home university: length of stay, budget limits and so on.
  2. Choose your topic. Search on the internet to find suitable organisations for a first contact. Do not pick too many, they can be difficult to keep in order.
  3. Always send a mail to a person, not a general mail address as for instance infoxxx.xx. Try with the head manager of the international office or a person in charge of exchange students and ask them to forward your message to the right person.
  4. Answer all mails you get even if the offer given is of no interest to you. Being polite might pay off at a later point of time.
  5. Do not accept the first offer you get. Keep your head cool and wait until you have some interesting offers to choose from.
  6. Accept the offer and keep a close contact with your contact person at the organisation you are going to.
  7. Try to decide on travel dates as soon as possible and order your ticket. Normally the chance of getting a good price is related to time.
  8. Before you go, browse through the home page on the web of the organisation you are going to, bring some printouts if necessary.
  9. If you feel like bringing a present, choose something from your home country - in my case something genuinely Swedish, like glass or steel objects. That is often appreciated.
  10. When on place, DOCUMENT your stay in a diary. Bring a laptop if possible. You will meet so many people and be sprayed with so many impressions that there is no chance you will remember everything.
  11. Be flexible. Show understanding for last minute changes due to unforeseen circumstances. Be prepared to work on your own sometimes.
  12. Whenever you meet people, exchange business cards with them.
  13. When you come home, send mails or cards to thank key persons (this is where your collected business cards come in) and offer your assistance in hosting a staff training period at your own university.
  14. Document your stay in a separate file and share your experience with your collegues. Encourage others to apply for a scholarship.