Traditions - and new beginnings – University of Copenhagen

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03 September 2017

Traditions - and new beginnings

Early September marks the beginning of the academic year at the University of Copenhagen. On the last Friday before the semester kicks off, the University Rector hosts the largest event of the year; the welcoming ceremony for all new students. Tradition has it that all new students will have the opportunity to shake hands with the Rector - in person – and all 7,000 of them! Apart from its thoroughly planned logistics, the ceremony of the personal handshake marks the beginning of students’ educational voyage at the University. It is a day full of expectations and joy. Although the tradition dates back more than 500 years, a significant change has been added this year. The ceremony will be conducted entirely in English instead of in both Danish and English as previously. This change aligns very well with our increased focus on the co-existence of Danish and English and the findings in our mapping of language needs the past years.

No more growing pains…

In June, the University of Copenhagen turned 538, but June was also another landmark occasion. The Erasmus+ programme celebrated its 30th anniversary. The programme has indeed been a milestone for international cooperation and has created mobility options for more than nine million Europeans, who have acquired international learning and strengthened their language skills.

After 30 years, the Erasmus+ programme is no longer a teenager – nor in its confusing 20s - but a young adult at 30. The growing pains phase is over and some very relevant changes have been added to the programme over the years, which, in my opinion, still make it highly relevant.

One change was introducing traineeships as a mobility option. This is increasingly popular amongst our students, and we have seen an annual increase of more than 50% in outbound Erasmus+ traineeships. The Erasmus Impact Study  also showed that the programme fosters an entrepreneurial spirit amongst students just as it demonstrated that Nordic employers especially value students’ increased ability to adapt to and act in new situations; to analyse and solve problems; to communicate; and to plan and organise.

Adding the possibility to apply for international partnerships from outside of Europe has been another strategic add-on, which has given the programme a new dimension.

Happy birthday

“I’m sure that you would agree it couldn't fit more perfectly than to have a world party on the day you came to be”, Stevie said it - but we missed the real birthday in June. But as this programme deserves a celebration, we will pay homage to the Erasmus+ programme in mid-October by hosting an event across the University. We will celebrate that the University of Copenhagen has been part of the programme since its inauguration in 1987. Erasmus+ has had a tremendous impact on our mobility programmes. From the early pioneering years up until today, where it has transformed mobility into being a natural part of our study programmes rather than an exotic add-on. In October, we will share success stories of both student and staff mobility focusing on students’ international learning skills, foreign language skills, staff mobility and the value of the Erasmus+ academic networks.

I for one look forward to following the programme into its 30s and see where this young adult will take us next.

Celebrating international partnerships

This autumn offers more opportunity to celebrate international education in Copenhagen. In September, we are hosting our first international partner day. Following this year’s EAIE conference, we have invited our international partners to join us for a full-day programme in Copenhagen. Our campuses have transformed tremendously over the last ten years, and we would like to show the new campus areas, listen to inspiring talks from lead researchers and foster interesting discussions on how to expand our existing partnerships.

We look forward to seeing you in September and if you miss it, I am sure that we will connect during the EAIE conference later this month.