Thursday, August 30, 2018

Alli McNamara is the Digital Marketing & Communication officer for the International Education Division in the University of Limerick. Alli recently travelled to the American University Beirut to spend time working with and learning from our partners there as part of the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility Programme.

“Last month I had the opportunity in conjunction with the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility Programme to travel to the American University Beirut (AUB) in order to spend time working with and learning from their International, Communications and Admissions teams.  The Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility (ICM) provides opportunities for staff and students to study, teach and train in countries outside Europe.

As part of the programme I travelled to Beirut for one week where I was hosted by the Office of International Programmes. The International team went to great lengths to welcome me to AUB and provided me the opportunity to spend time with each of their team members so that I could gain an overview and insight into all of the work that they do.

A key part of my experience in AUB was the fact that I was able to shadow their Associate Director, Basma Zeidan & Study Abroad Advisor & Social Media Manager, Leen Batrawi. This provided me the opportunity to get first-hand experience in their preparations and processes for getting students ready to depart on Study Abroad. I was also able to see the preparations that the team were making for welcoming new International students to AUB in August and the development of their orientation programme. Working closely with the team we developed a calendar of activities to help new students to get involved with activities in AUB and encourage greater student engagement.

While in AUB I got to spend a day learning from and shadowing the Universities Communications Team.  The team brought me through their planning process for key upcoming projects and I also got to work with their Digital Media Director, Nidal Mawas & Communications Manager, Randa Bizri Zaiter. Nidal & Randa explained their processes for developing digital and promotional content and showed me a number of examples of their most recent video and photography work.

Finally I had the opportunity to meet with the Director of Admissions Salim Kanaan and Associate Director Nadine Naffah. It was a great opportunity for me to gain a better understanding of the recruitment and admissions processes in AUB. This also led to a greater discussion and understanding of international student mobility and the opportunities and threats facing both of our Universities.

In order for me to get a greater understanding of the experiences that International students have in Lebanon during their orientation programme, Student Services and Special Projects Coordinator, Olga Safa arranged for me to participate in a cultural excursion to the wold UNESCO sites of Byblos & Baalbek.

Lebanon has had difficulties in the past but I can honestly say that I found it to be a fascinating, warm and welcoming country that is making great strides to leave its past behind and become one of the world’s thriving destinations.  This in my experience is down to the amazing people in Lebanon, I cannot thank the International team enough for the incredible welcome and hospitality that they showed me. We have not only strengthened the ties between our two Universities but I am now delighted to say that I have colleagues and friends in American University Beirut.”