Lu Yi Nilsson
Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology
Lu Yi thought it was a great opportunity to combine a language course with job shadowing abroad. Her advice is to be well prepared for your stay and to be open to new impressions.
Hello Lu Yi. Would you please tell us where you work?
Between 2014 and 2020, I was the International Secretary at the HT Faculties. Since 2020, I have been working as International Coordinator at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Lund University.
A few years ago, you travelled to Nottingham on an Erasmus+ staff training placement. What made you decide to do this?
Back in 2018, I participated in the staff training programme in Nottingham (time flies!). I still remember how I was immediately taken by the idea of being able to spend a week in the UK, not only for the language course but also for job shadowing. English was a central part of my role as International Secretary in the HT Faculties, and I have always been curious about the approach that other institutions around the world take to internationalisation and student mobility, so I thought the programme was a perfect fit for me.
How did you get in touch with someone on site in Nottingham?
Because it was a collaboration between LU and the University of Nottingham, and thanks to everyone involved on both sides, we participants received very good "service" from the beginning. I sent in a description of my duties and my preferences for job shadowing. Then I found out who at the University of Nottingham would host me for job shadowing. My match was a colleague in their Office of Global Engagement, which was perfect.
How long were you gone? What did the exchange consist of, and what did you experience?
I was away for a week. The programme consisted of both the language course and job shadowing. In the mornings, there were lessons in working English where I practised phrases and expressions that are practical and useful in real-world work situations. For two afternoons, I and two other colleagues from LU accompanied Helen Foster from the Office of Global Engagement as she showed us how their centralised service centre for student mobility worked.
How was it to meet with your colleagues in Nottingham?
The colleagues we met were very pleasant and welcoming. I remember travelling by bus with Helen between different meetings that she planned for us, and I felt a bit nervous, almost like the first day at a new job. We got to sit in on a meeting that Helen had with her colleagues, and I couldn't help but smile when comments or scenarios came up that I could so easily recognise from my own work. There were many such moments that made the whole experience so memorable.
What was most rewarding?
It felt like a luxury to be able to spend a whole week focusing on polishing my English. But even more rewarding, I think, was being able to get an insight into how a British university structures its work in terms of mobility and internationalisation, and how they keep the day-to-day work going. This made me think about and reflect on my own work at home.
What was most challenging?
The most challenging part was dealing with so many impressions and so much information at the same time. A week feels pretty short when you want to take everything in. Especially if you also want to be able to contribute and share ideas and reflections with your British colleagues during job shadowing. It can be a bit stressful at times.
Did you have a lot of work to catch up on when you got back home?
Yes, that is pretty inevitable. But if you can plan in advance and get backup and support from your closest colleagues, you can usually work it out.
Would you recommend this to other colleagues?
Yes, absolutely! A language course and job shadowing in one package is an excellent idea.
Do you have any tips for other staff who want to travel and job shadow for work?
Read up and prepare well for job shadowing, and be open to a new workplace in a different culture.