Some useful advice when planning a staff training visit
by Ewa Bjurshagen,
Executive Officer, Division for Student Affairs, Mälardalen University,
- Check the conditions for the scholarship with your home university: length of stay, budget limits and so on.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not accept the first offer you get. Keep your head cool and wait until you have some interesting offers to choose from.
- Accept the offer and keep a close contact with your contact person at the organisation you are going to.
- 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.
- Before you go, browse through the home page on the web of the organisation you are going to, bring some printouts if necessary.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be flexible. Show understanding for last minute changes due to unforeseen circumstances. Be prepared to work on your own sometimes.
- Whenever you meet people, exchange business cards with them.
- 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.
- Document your stay in a separate file and share your experience with your collegues. Encourage others to apply for a scholarship.