Erasmus Virtual Week at Western University of Timisoara (Romania)

In a pandemic, the world needs more qualitative change more than ever. The hybridization of communications, the substantial transformation of habitual processes and the sharp increase in the need for technical support have undoubtedly posed a serious challenge to higher education institutions. The COVID-19 pandemic has actually marked the direction in which institutions should develop in radically new conditions, created perspectives for modernization and optimization of existing practices. It also affected the implementation of academic mobility programs for students, staff and projects funded by EU programs, including Erasmus +. Thus, the usual academic mobility is transformed into a mixed or even purely virtual exchange.

From October 5 to 9, 2020, the Western University of Timisoara (Romania) organized and held the first virtual Erasmus + week “Virtual Erasmus Staff Training Week”. Its participants were 98 representatives of the higher education institutions from 30 countries, including the director of the international scientific and educational center of the Higher Educational Institution “Poltava University of Economics and Trade” Julia Pereguda.

The program of the event included exciting information seminars and interactive sessions on the internationalization of higher education institutions, because internationalization in isolation is not easy to develop, but certainly much easier when you are surrounded by professional and dedicated colleagues from around the world.

Urgent issues of internationalization of higher education were discussed jointly with national and international experts:
-Ligiya Deca, the Presidential Advisor in the Administration of the President of Romania, on the internationalization of higher education in Romania and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on internationalization efforts on a global scale;
-Iryna Ferench, Director of the Association for Academic Cooperation in Brussels, – the issue of inclusion in the process of internationalization of higher education;
-Andra-Mirona Dragotesc, UNITA Institutional Coordinator at Western University of Timisoara, who presented the European University Initiative and the UNITA-Universitas Montium project consortium.

Much attention was paid to the Erasmus + program during the discussions. Representatives of the Erasmus + National Agency in Romania presented the opportunities of the Program in the field of education, the results achieved and its impact, as well as the innovations of the Erasmus + Program for 2021-2027.

During the working week, all participants had the opportunity to present their own higher education institutions, as well as the best practices for intensifying the process of institutional internationalization.

Everyone was delighted with the enthusiasm of colleagues to share experiences and best practices, active participation in productive conversations and discussions, which gave the impetus to the search of new directions for the development of internationalization at the institutional, national and international levels.