Last week, we said goodbye to Indian teacher Shalini Aggarwal, who was in Brazil for 15 days for a Cycle of Lectures in the Administration area. The professor’s arrival closed with a golden key the bilateral agreement for professor mobility between Grupo Unis and Chandigarh University.
The first phase of teacher mobility took place with the trip to India of Professor Laura Ribeiro, who works in the Civil Engineering course here at Grupo Unis. She participated in a big event in the country and told us a little about this experience.
Unis: How was the experience of participating in the International Faculty Development Program (IFDP)?
Laura Ribeiro: Participation in the event was wonderful, it contributed not only to my professional growth but to my personal as well. We had 76 professors from all over the world, so we were able to exchange a lot of experience, everything that has happened in the world in each country, about politics, about economics, about the environment, helped to encompass the world view and how it will interfere in our lives, in education, in our areas of activity. It was an extraordinary experience! Both in the personal sense, in the sense of life and in the professional too, in the professional as a civil engineer, I had contact with universities there and other professors from the country of Oman, they also went there to make their presentations, most in the area of concrete . It was also very interesting, they have different situations but that’s exactly what gives us greater knowledge because we don’t use what they use, so it gives us a tool and creates the possibility for us to work here too. So the whole event was really grandiose, and the knowledge part was wonderful too.
U: Did you do any kind of individual presentation at the event?
L: Yes, I did individual presentations, I had 5 topics so I did 5 presentations during the week. The topics were all related to civil engineering in my area of expertise, transport infrastructure. We discussed more about what is happening in Brazil, what are the prospects for the future in this area and what are the problems that we are facing here as well, and what we have been doing to be able to meet our problems, our demands. So I actually tried to do a round table, in addition to the individual presentation, so that we could explore each one’s knowledge, and so that each one could share their experiences, because these presentations were made for people, for students graduate programs, and for the institution’s professors. So everybody there had some kind of experience they could share, people reacted really well, it was all really cool, they shared a lot too. So I learned a lot about their reality, about what they have to do, about the demands that the country demands, this exchange was really cool. I’m definitely going to use a lot of what they said and I hope they also use things that I was able to share.
U: In what ways do you believe this experience will contribute to the development of our institution?
L: Well, in addition to the experience that I will bring to my students within Unis, this international experience strengthens the ties between universities, so much so that we had several meetings within the department thinking about possibilities for to connect the two countries, to make subjects together, hybrid subjects. We would be able to put teachers from India, teachers from Brazil, so that students would have this worldwide knowledge, not only of the situations that happen specifically in their country or state. So for them to have this mentality that things change, and that everything is constantly changing and that we have to visualize what is happening in other places as well. So this part of networking that we did there at the University of Chandigarh was really cool, I came back with a lot of contacts and I hope we can do a program and several really cool events for our students and professors.
U: How was the reception from the Indians? Tell us curiosities about cultural aspects and customs of the country. What did you think?
L: India is a wonderful country, everything I thought before going to India fell apart. India managed to break all the paradigms I had in my head in a wonderful way. It’s a country that I will definitely visit again, because I didn’t have time to walk around, so I want to go to India just to walk around. Indian hospitality is the most wonderful thing possible, I felt very comfortable, they were very helpful, very friendly, they tried to make me feel at home. Curiosities: Indian traffic really is what we see, but when we get there it’s a little worse, there are cows on the street, which is pretty cool too and I learned why cows there are sacred. It’s because they consume a lot of dairy, so they always understood that cows gave them food, so that’s why it was considered a sacred animal and they treat the animal so well. The foods are very spicy, so for me, for example, who didn’t eat a lot of spicy foods, I suffered a lot but I got a good improvement. So nowadays I can eat foods with a little pepper, but overall it was a very wonderful experience, I will definitely go back to India. So I just have to thank you for this opportunity, thank Unis, because I’m definitely someone else today. With each trip we take, with each cultural encounter we have, we learn a lot. We change our perspective on life, perspective on the world, professional perspective, so it’s just a matter of saying thank you for this wonderful opportunity, and I’m waiting for the next ones, because I’ll definitely be in the next calls for proposals trying to get to know other places.