These words was Helen Tatum’s from Salford Loaves and Fishes final word at the end of the Students conference at Manchester Metropolitian University (MMU) on April 25. 2016. Her aim was to remind us of the fact that no matter what you do, if you are a care provider, supporting people or teaching students, or collaborate with someone – “it’s all about people”.
Her words was tumbling in my head. I had just left the MMU, and my other colleagues. I was on my own. Now I had to find the train to Leeds. The train trip between Manchester and Leeds is beautiful, and takes me through hills and small cities. Finally, it was quiet. I did not have to sharpening my attention to anyone, or struggling to catch the meaning of the English words, or formulate answers in English. Just quiet, and time for reflection. These reflections I would like to share. I share them English because this is going to be about “internationalization”, from my perspective.
Helen Tatum’s word made me understand what “internalization” is all about. Home in Sogndal I have often heard that our University College has a lot of potential in improving our work on internationalization. Just hearing the words gave me a feeling of insecurity, and far away from my comfort zone. How do you do it?
Personally, I stumbled into the internationalization: In February, we had visitors from the MMU at our University College. By accident, I joined the dinner the evening before the formal meeting. In addition, I happened to sit next to a colleague, Dr. Gemma Yarwood, from MMU. The conversations was about projects, methodology, kids and football. We connected. The next day we did not get any chance to talk very much. A few days later an invitation to participate at the conference came. I wrote an abstract, and suddenly I had the role as a keynote speaker. Never done it before, ever. The internationalization has started. This started with people.
The hospitality in Manchester is fantastic. This makes us feel welcome and important, lot of colleagues contributed to our wellbeing. The posters we brought are in the foyer, and we have done our presentations. I am happy. Happy because my presentation gave many echoes among the English audience, and for telling me that the similarity and differences between the countries are important knowledge for all of us. This is also about people.
My contact with my colleague in Leeds, Dr. Helen Atherton also started in Sogndal on a tour to Harastølen, and a nice dinner in the evening. My first evening in Leeds I got the opportunity to get more information about the Brandesburton Hospital Oral History, and a visit to Brandseburton hospital, or what is left of it. Then a nice stay at my colleague’s home in Beverly. By the way Tour de Yorkshire has its starting point in Beverly. The next day I had a very interesting experience at the University. 1. Level class in pediatric nurse had a course in communication. The lectures was by three people from Purple Patch Art. Two of them had learning disabilities, and this was the 6.time they were doing this. They also ended their lecture with the statement; “it’s about respect and it’s about people”.
Sitting at my hotel room in Leeds I felt I had to write down my impressions and reflections. My perspective in “internationalization” is no longer scary. To reach goals about students – teacher’s exchange, researcher collaboration is not possible without the connections. “It’s all about people”.