Double interview: Marisa Clemenz and Peggy Fumagalli and their Staff Mobility experience

A view of Amsterdam
A view of Amsterdam

Servizio relazioni internazionali e mobilità

20 Dicembre 2013

How long have you been working at USI and what is your position?

Marisa: “I have been working at USI for 8 years. During the first 4 years, I worked at the Dean’s office of the Faculty of Informatics and partially at the Institute of Finance. From January 2010 I have been working at the Institute of Economics, where I am coordinator of an Executive Master’s program, administrative assistant of the Summer School in Public Health Policy, Economics and Management and secretary of the Institute.” 

Peggy: “I started working at USI in 2005 within the Human Resources unit.”

How did you learn about the staff mobility programmes?

Marisa: “I learned about the staff mobility program thanks to our International Relations and Study-abroad Office, which sent a message to the university staff, giving different options for staff mobility courses abroad.”

Peggy: “Through our International Relations Service.”

Where did you go?

Marisa: “I went to Amsterdam, where I could learn more about how to deal with international students (how to help them before arriving, which services are appreciated on site, which are the benefits and challenges of international classes, etc.). We also had sessions about Summer Programs (goals, target groups, benefits and fun). Moreover, we had a very interesting lesson about the use of social media for study abroad, where we could receive interesting advice related to the promotion of programs and events using social media (facebook, twitter, etc.).”

Peggy: “I spent my international staff exchange week in Finland, at the University of Helsinki (UH). The University of Helsinki has 11 faculties and about 20 institutes. It operates on 4 campuses in Helsinki and 17 other locations. It counts a community of 36’000 students and 5’000 academic staff. Founded in 1640, the University of Helsinki has a long story and is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research university. I decided to go there because of its reputation of high quality in teaching and also because the program of the week was very interesting: besides getting to know each other (15 participants coming from 10 countries), we got some general information about the University of Helsinki, followed a crash course of Finnish, spent a day in a department of our choice and visited some faculties of UH (Biomedicum for example) and services (the new library and the learning center).“

Why have you decided to take advantage of this opportunity?

Marisa: “The majority of the topics of this week in Amsterdam had a connection with my work, especially for the organization of our Summer School, that every year hosts more than 100 people from more than 20 countries.”

Peggy: “I was curious about doing such an experience abroad and meet other people working in different services of other universities. It was a great chance to exchange experiences, compare opinions, ideas and points of view. I was very enthusiastic about this great opportunity.”

Please tell us a bit more about your experience during the week abroad.

Marisa: “This study week was a really great opportunity to exchange information and ideas with people working in other universities. The target group activities allowed us to learn more about how other universities work, and to collect ideas on how to improve our work.”

Peggy: “I had an intensive week. We spent all the time together from early morning until night, sharing experiences and talking about similarities and differences UH has compared to our home universities. During the week, I had the chance to spend one day in a department, hence I exchanged experiences with my counterpart of the Human Resources in UH and took back to USI some interesting ideas. The organizers of the International Staff Exchange Week planned several round tables during the week, at least once per day, where to share everyone’s experience. Since we were from different countries and different departments, it has been an enriching experience discussing and discovering how the same topics are managed. Furthermore: 24 hours a day full immersion in English! Last but not least, we have been delighted every day tasting Finnish food and had the unique experience of the real smoke sauna followed by binding bath in a chilly lake!”

Would you recommend your colleagues to do a similar experience, and why?

Marisa: “Yes, I strongly recommend it! It is a great opportunity to learn new working skills, to realize what could be improved or changed in our work activities. Besides, it is also a pleasure to know new people and to discover a new city. I had never been to Amsterdam before.”

Peggy: “Of course. First of all this experience is a balm to be open- minded and it is also the occasion to create a net of new contacts.”

Sum up the staff mobility program you have attended in three words.

Marisa: “Useful, interesting and fun!”

Peggy: “Enhancing, thrilling, refreshing.”