By Dr Carol Padgett SFHEA, Associate Professor in Finance, Head of Undergraduate Programmes, Henley Business School, Programme Director: MSc Corporate Finance.
Most people associate Erasmus with opportunities for students to study overseas. The programme also allows staff members to visit and work at partner universities; thanks to Erasmus I am spending a week at EM Strasbourg Business School. The university was founded in the sixteenth century and today has a student population of over 46,000, of these 29% study law, economics, management or political science. The business school alone operates 190 exchange programmes, and my students are drawn from the group spending one semester or the whole year studying at the business school.
Exchange students can choose to take a mixture of modules which are taught across the semester, or much more intensive modules like mine which are taught over just one week. This is going to be a busy week for me and my new students …
Strasbourg is a great place to visit if you dislike flying or really like trains. I took three trains to get here. Travelling from Reading to London, London to Paris by Eurostar and Paris to Strasbourg by TGV. Only one of those trains was running late, I wonder if you can guess which one it was? Well, we all know that Sunday is the day Network Rail works on the track! The tram from the station to the university area passed the Christmas markets which confirm that at this time of year, Strasbourg becomes the self-styled “Capital of Christmas”. Tempting as the festive scene looked, this was not the time for tourism, I needed to get to my hotel and relax in preparation for the start of my teaching.
This morning I met my students. They come from a huge range of countries including Mexico, Germany, Spain, Korea and Scotland. They all have a background in Economics or Business, and a few know some finance. The timetable requires me to give two, three hour lectures with a one hour break in the middle. By lunchtime my breakfast coffee had worn off, but the students were still looking quite fresh. I don’t know what they had for lunch but the mixture of food and a rather small, stuffy room made then rather sleepy when we resumed. A kahoot had the desired effect on them, but I needed the added boost of some pauses during which they discussed the issues raised in the lecture and reported back to the group. I was glad when the second lecture ended but felt rather sorry for the students who had to leave quickly to get to their final lecture of the day which ended at 7pm!
In the second part of the blog, Dr Carol visits the “capital of christmas” as it looks set to snow!