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Matthew Shipton

Matthew Shipton Erasmus exchange at City University London

The Staff exchange experience directly influenced my own work in developing City's own 'Building the Vision' campaign

Erasmus University of Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam has been ranked as a top ten University in Europe by the Financial Times. The University is named after Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, a 15th-century humanist and theologian.

In early 2013 I spent a week at Erasmus University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands to find out how they communicate and market major capital developments.

I'd spent some time researching communication approaches at other UK institutions, but none were operating in quite the same context as City, University of London. Somewhat unexpectedly, I then came across an interesting set of webpages that had been developed to promote major campus redevelopment of Erasmus University (a THES top 100 world institution), just as the Erasmus Staff Mobility programme was being promoted. This serendipitous occurrence seemed too good to waste.

After a few weeks developing a detailed itinerary with Erasmus University, the visit was confirmed and funding agreed by the Staff Mobility Programme. The process was straightforward.

The experience itself was incredibly useful.  It's rare these days to be able to spend a reasonable period of time completely immersing yourself in another institution's culture. The Staff Mobility programme appears designed to do just that, providing a framework by which one can learn in detail how world-leading organisations operate.

It was extremely interesting to find a university that is increasingly configured to provide education in English for the international market, but without sacrificing its sense of Dutch identity. And the way Erasmus set out to communicate its capital developments for local, regional and global markets, whist fixing the work within a strategic context, was a real eye-opener. In fact, the experience directly influenced my own work in developing City's own 'Building the Vision' campaign, one that has been used successfully for many different audiences.

Throughout the visit there was a real sense of warm international collegiality and the hospitality Erasmus staff gave, evening boat trip on the Niuewe Maas included, was wonderful. I would recommend the programme for all staff. My only advice would be to research local customs and traditions carefully before the visit, I'm not sure I completely masked my initial horror the first time I was offered sour milk with my lunch.