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  • Story on Erasmus+ staff training mobility experience

    Aktualizēts 23.03.2020 12:21

    • Name and surname: Juris Soms
    • Age: 54
    • Gender: male
    • Sending higher education institution and its country: Daugavpils University, LATVIA
    • Receiving higher education institution and its country: University of Mindanao, PHILIPPINES
    • Field of work in your higher education institution: Associate professor at Department of Environmental Science & Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Daugavpils University; teaching and scientific research in the field of Earth Sciences and related disciplines (Geology, Geomorphology, Geodiversity and its impact on Biodiversity)
    • Length of mobility period: 7 activity days
    Fig. 1. Representatives of Daugavpils University together with teachers and students from University of Mindanao

     There are several reasons and motivation factors which affected my decision to participate in ERASMUS+ staff training mobility; however, I would like to emphasis the following:  opportunity to develop my own professional experience, competences and skills in the field of my work in higher education institution during training course at Mindanao University and multidisciplinary field research expedition, thus increasing the quality and relevance of teaching.

    Among the purposes of my mobility I have to indicate (i) the strengthening of the established contacts and establishing new academic and professional contacts between the Dept. of Environmental Science & Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Daugavpils University (Latvia), and Dept. of Math & Science, College of Arts & Sciences at University of Mindanao (Philippines); (ii) participation in multidisciplinary research expedition and exchange with personal knowledge and practical experience on application of geological/geomorphological methods in field survey. The main activities of the training mobility:  together with colleagues from University of Mindanao I participated in the National Multidisciplinary Research expedition, it allowed to exchange with knowledge and experience in field survey on abiotic ecosystem components like soils, rock formations and landforms, as well as to elaborate new topics for research. Meetings and discussions with staff of University of Mindanao allowed to establishing new academic and professional contacts and to define further cooperation between both Universities.

    Fig. 2. Lecture on Biodiversity and Technology, and Social Science, Session “Biodiversity and Environment”, Key-note presentation by professor Arvīds Barševskis, Daugavpils University

    My experience in dealing with sending and receiving higher education institution before, after and during our mobility is very positive. I have to notice the high qualification, responsibility and professionalism of project coordinators both at sending HE and receiving HE institutions – Velta Dilba (Daugavpils University) and Analyn Anzano Cabras (University of Mindanao), respectively. All the circulation of information and documents was in time and quick.

    By completing the staff training course, I’m able to transfer knowledge and the experience obtained during the National Multidisciplinary Research expedition, allowing to improve and upgrade summer field courses in Environmental Science at Daugavpils University. By discussions and field survey experience exchange with the colleagues and students from University of Mindanao, common cusps were formulated on practical aspects of realization of field researches in Biology and Environmental Science. This issue will form the basis for further academic cooperation between our universities.

    Fig. 3. EARSMUS+ team of Daugavpils University at facilities of scientific collections, University of Mindanao, College of Arts and Sciences

    As personal gains from my ERASMUS+ staff training mobility the updating own academic and professional contacts and skills during training mobility, as well as obtaining new knowledge and acquiring scientific research skills in field survey of landscape shaped by tectonic and volcanic processes also have to be mentioned. It will be very useful for me in teaching Geology and Geomorphology at Daugavpils University.

    It is essential that exchange of experience during mobility will provide laying the framework for further cooperation between both Universities in the realization and internationalization of Environmental science and Biology studies. This issue will form the basis for further academic cooperation between our universities. I hope, it will also promote the mobility of students and staff from University of Mindanao to come to Daugavpils University.

    Considering I’ve long-term experience in the planning and realization of field research expeditions, as well as participation in international scientific events and symposiums, actually there were not significant challenges while preparing for ERASMUS+ training mobility and participating in it. As minor challenge the preparation of equipment appropriate for multidisciplinary research expedition should be mentioned.

    I’d like to give advice to future ERASMUS+ participants to acquire and to learn the basics of language of country of receiving HE institution. As Nelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

    Fig.4. Representatives of Daugavpils University together with master study program students from University of Mindanao at the Coleoptera Research Center, College of Arts and Sciences

    I would like to express my personal gratitude and sincere appreciation to the director of University of Mindanao Mr. Guillermo E. Torres, to all staff and students involved in the organization of our mobility, and in particular to professor Analyn Anzano Cabras for excellent management and care which allowed to fulfill the schedule of mobility successfully. I am also very grateful to ERASMUS+ program for the excellent opportunity to obtain experience and skills which will be useful in my academic career and professional development as teacher at the University.

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