SHARE is one of the international cooperation programmes that Hue University currently participates in. It is funded by the EU, and among other things it enables for students from Hue to carry out a mobility period in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region through the credit transfer system. During the coming semester, three students from Hue University will travel abroad for an exchange study period (to Malaysia and Thailand) and seven students from Indonesia and Myanmar will spend the spring semester at Hue University. The students will arrive this week to settle in and start their exchange studies here. SHARE is a programme at university level, which means that any student from a member university can apply for a scholarship. It is quite popular to apply for an exchange programme where there is a scholarship attached, as it otherwise is very expensive for a student to travel abroad.
Member universities also have their own exchange programmes. Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy (Hue UMP), Faculty of Public Health Sciences, has for a long time had an exchange programme with universities in Thailand. It is a two-week long exchange programme, which includes both academic and cultural experiences. During the summer, ca 15-20 students together with 2-3 staff from Hue travel to Thailand for a two-week exchange programme, and then during the following semester a group from Thailand visit Hue.
Every year, a small group of undergraduate students in health sciences from Queensland University of Technology in Australia visit the faculty, for shorter clinical placements both in Hue and in more remote areas. The placements are done together with local students from the university, for peer learning and also interpretation.
Hue UMP has had an exchange agreement within Biomedical Laboratory Sciences together with Karlstad University through the Linnaeus-Palme programme, but for several reasons unfortunately the programme has currently been paused. I understand that there is a great interest and motivation at Hue UMP in finding new ways to cooperate and exchange ideas, experiences and best practices with local and international partners.
During my last weeks in Hue I will be at one of Hue University’s member universities Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy. The university was established in 1957, and today it consists of 7 faculties.
Hue Institute for Community Health Research (ICHR) is a research institute situated at the Faculty of Public Health, where I have been able to jobshadow staff and carry out interviews. The mission of ICHR is “to improve quality of scientific community health research, to apply research findings to the community healthcare practice, to provide training and technical support for improving research capability and evaluation of community health services among 5 provinces in Central and Highland area of Vietnam” (source). There is so much interesting collaboration and ongoing research projects at ICHR!
I was also invited to participate in the preparatory Master’s class in Biostatistics, a course held in English. 10 already graduated students were able to prepare possible research topics, which will be presented and defended at a “jury meeting” later this week. Today’s class was to prepare them for the “real” meeting, so together with the fellow students, I had to comment on their presentations and give feedback. The students who do the best both topicwise and with a well-prepared presentation will later be offered the possibility of participating in the two-year long Master’s programme, where part of the programme is spent in Hue and the other in Sassari, Italy. // Karin
You will find plenty of options for short-term accommodation in Hue; hostels, hotels at different price ranges as well as homestays. In order for me to experience more of Vietnamese culture and traditions, I decided to look for housing in a family in Hue. I was very lucky to find my accommodation in a family, whose house is situated in a calm alley close to the river, 5 minutes walk from the university, the university hospital and a lot of nice cafés. I have my own room and bathroom en suite, and a lovely balcony with a small bouganvillea in a pot, which I enjoyed during the first sunny days in Hue.
The family consists of a father, a mother, a son, a grandmother and a maid whose main job is to care for the 93-year old grandmother, who still has perfect sight and hearing and who keeps track of the books every day.
Except for the son and the father, the knowledge of English in the family is very low, so I need to use a lot of body language, and also at times google translate, in order to communicate with the others. They are extremely kind and hospitable, and often invite me to try their food, talk about daily life in Hue, and give good recommendations for places to see and where to eat.
The house has a lovely garden with a small pond, and on top of the roof the family grow their herbs and vegetables. I think, from what I’ve seen, that this is quite a typical family house in central Hue.
EduShare project kick-off ceremony
The official kick-off ceremony for EduShare, a new project on joint capacity building in biomedical higher education co-financed by the Erasmus+ programme, was held at Hue University on Monday, and I was invited to attend. The kick-off was held at Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, in a lecture hall so beautifully decorated with amazing flower arrangements*. Professor Cao Ngoc Thanh, Rector of Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, was the host of the event and he held a very engaging and supporting introductory speech.
I was happily surprised to find two colleagues from Karolinska Institutet taking part in the project, which aims to “assist Vietnamese universities providing higher education and training to future healthcare professionals who contribute to improving the health of the local people” (according to the programme coordinators at Tartu University, Estonia). Of course there was also time to meet and network with new acquaintances from all the participating countries.
* I must admit that I am very fond of flowers and gardens, so this is a perfect desination for that as well…
Huế University is one of the most important regional universities in Vietnam, ranked number 5 among Vietnamese universities. Established in 1957, it will celebrate 60 years next year. The university comprises of 8 member colleges and 2 member schools; the total number of students is more than 50 000. During my mobility period at Huế University, I will mainly be working together with and job shadowing the staff at the Centre for International Education as well as the College of Medicine and Pharmacy.
Today, I gave a very much appreciated presentation of Sweden (thank you Swedish Institute for great slides) and of course one about Karolinska Institutet. I was also given an introduction to Huế University and its structure, the educational programmes, international cooperation and so forth. We have a lot of interesting topics to discuss during the coming days, in order to learn from each other through best practices when it comes to student and staff mobility as well as other practical matters.
Centre for International Education
Me on my way to work
The city of Huế lies on the banks of Song Huong (Perfume River) in the province Central Vietnam. Huế is known as the most royal city of Vietnam, as it used to be the capital of the country during the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). This era has had a great impact on the city, as of 1993 the Complex of Huế Monuments were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Citadel and Hoang Thanh (the Imperial City) among the most popular tourist attraction in Hue.
As I arrived a day early to Huế, I started off with doing some sightseeing in the city which will now be my “home-away-from-home” for a month’s time.
The photos have all been taken inside the Imperial City. It is quite an impressive site, and I spent several hours walking around the now rather tranquil area, trying to imagine what it was like living there 200 years ago. I highly recommended it.
Working as an international coordinator at a university, I continuously encourage our students to travel abroad, gain international experience, try to use their knowledge in a different setting, learn new things and get to know other cultures and people. As a student I did an exchange study period abroad, I wrote my Master’s thesis abroad, I have carried out shorter staff exchanges in France and Spain. I believe that a mobility period abroad is very enriching, educative and inspiring both personally and professionally, so I was interested in doing a longer exchange period myself. After having searched the Internet for available programmes and also made enquiries with colleagues at other Swedish universities, I found an interesting programme that I could be eligible for.
In April I submitted an application to the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 partnership programme Lotus Unlimited. Working as an administrative staff at a Swedish university, I qualified to apply for a one-month long staff mobility at an International Office in one of the participating countries. Hue University in Vietnam accepted my enquiry to carry out a mobility period at their university, and in June I was notified of the selection. I was so thrilled and excited about the news; grateful to Hue University and the Lotus Unlimited programme for selecting me and also to my head of unit at Karolinska Institutet, who approved of my participating in the mobility programme.
Now the time has come for the staff mobility to start. During the following four weeks, I will blog about my experiences participating in the mobility programme at Hue University. I hope that you too will be inspired and take the chance whenever given.