After the pace of the day before I took it steady this morning. My house mate Jim had grading to do and a bit of student advocacy came up while I was here that required attention. I made my way into town for what I thought was a brief meeting and was met by two faculty, a project manager and a DIS leadership team member. I thought it was going to be a 15 minute meeting leading into the afternoon’s wrap up plenary. Instead we went to a French Bistro for lunch, sat down and discussed a student academic affairs, curriculum and development of the research program in Stockholm.
Our conversation was growth oriented. A strong positive quality of DIS faculty and staff is their willingness and openness to learning from all sources. The thrust of the meeting focused on integrated and interdisciplinary undergraduate research and aspects of student recruitment, curriculum, mixed methods research and capitalizing on faculty strengths and. I have a little bit of experience with this over the last seven years and was happy to share what I could. We took care of the student advocacy piece and shared plenty of notes. On the science and health policy side of the “house” DIS has made good start with their brand new program in Stockholm. With time it will become stronger and vital. Based on what I saw in Stockholm, the relationship with the Karolinska and the discussions I had with the faculty who have exemplary credentials I imagine students will have an outstanding educational experience.
After our meeting I walked the city center taking in the final views of the city before joining Jim and hunting for true Danish chocolate for his family. With out mission achieved we waked along to Christiansborg Palace for a tour and our final program meet up over a splendid Danish meal of scallops, braised veal chocolate cake a fine selections of wines. We toasted our experience and headed home confident in the knowledge we had learned a lot and had a clear view of the study abroad learning opportunities for students at our respective institutions.
We got a good nights rest with no meetings to go to and no rapid pace to follow. Our host Jorgen Jorgensen served us his finest cheese and bread, Danish bitters to see our food down and drove us to the airport. Jorgen was a fine host and a good man with a compelling life story. He is someone you will remember long after you meet him.
So what did I learn this week? You can read all the other posts to see the day by day call out, but I suppose as I sit here in Copenhagen airport looking forward to a day off at home before returning to work on Monday, the main things that come to mind are these.
No matter what is going on the world politically or how big perceived social upheavals are there is a common human experience we can share be it communing over a meal or discovering each others views over a coffee or discussing content through different cultural lenses. All done civilly, respectfully with a bit of humor. The last ten days have reminded me professionals in higher education in faculty, advising, administration and technical support roles are generally motivated to do a great job and perform well. Teachers are leaders and leaders are learners. I experienced great teaching this week. I will leave with teaching and research strategies, a stronger understanding of the front to back process of running a study abroad program and an appreciation of the growth mindset one needs to keep striving for continual improvement in what you do. I am reminded that deliberately exposing myself to cultural differences and embracing the experience helps me get more out of the moment I share with others. It is not always easy and I don’t always like it but I do enjoy learning once I experienced it.
At DIS they called this five day workshop I completed a “semester in a week”. They were right. It was.
Time for a day off.