My Erasmus Staff Mobility Experience by Nazan Gelbal
Over the semester break I had a chance to apply to a couple of universities for Erasmus Staff mobility. I received two offers from two different universities and I picked Zagreb School of Economics and Management as it includes Business English classes and I decided to challenge myself to teach in a different context.
Zagreb School of Business and Management
There are a lot of business schools in Zagreb but ZSEM, accredited AACSB in 2013, is the best in the city. There are many international students studying at ZSEM. Through its international exchange programmes, Croatian students can also study abroad at partner universities. The students I met are all familiar with Sabanci University and they are highly interested in being exchange students in our management department.
On my first day, Ivanka Rajh, a Business English teacher at the host institution, greeted me. I was introduced to Amal Mali from the International Office and later Tina Lee Odinsky-Zec and Zdravka Biocina whose lessons I covered and observed. They were all very welcoming, helpful and supportive. Especially Ivanka Rajh who accompanied me from the moment I arrived the city until I left.
I observed Tina’s lessons and it was a great opportunity for me to see a good teaching practice. Tina invited a businesswoman as a guest speaker for that lesson and the guest speaker gave a lecture about crisis management. The students were actively listening to the lecture throughout the lesson as the guest speaker increased students’ enthusiasm. It was inspiring to see that we can increase students’ enthusiasm by making a small change. The students were presented with different crisis management strategies. The second lesson was designed based on the first one and it was the time for students to practice. They worked in groups and they were given different crisis situations and were expected to present what the crisis was and how they could deal with it and why they chose a particular strategy. After each group presented, Tina and I gave our feedback on their crisis management strategies.
In addition to the observations, I covered Ivanka and Zdravka’s lectures. I started with a personal presentation and presenting Sabanci University with an overview of Turkish economy to lead in my main focus. In their syllabus, that week was allocated to the use of social networks in business and Ivanka told me that the students were interested in intercultural perspectives. Based on the students’ needs at the host institution, I prepared a case study of Pegasus Airlines covering the company’s overview, products, markets, branding strategy, advertising and use of social media. I chose Pegasus Airlines as I thought it was an example of successful entrepreneurship and that the air transportation industry in Turkey has evolved partly through Pegasus Airlines.
After negotiating/ talking for a week, Ivanka and I decided to work on an article about vocabulary teaching and present it in an international conference. I expressed my interest in formative feedback and shared the sources that I have been working on since Fall 2018-19 with her. She will visit our school next Spring semester.
I love Zagreb for being green with beautiful landscapes and close to nature, as well as for being a big city full of opportunities. The historical centre is surrounded by hilly green streets. The newer parts of the city have broad avenues. The most interesting thing about Zagreb is the large number of (4500) cafes and restaurants in such a small city. Zagreb people love spending time in cafes and restaurants, so I can say that the culture here is totally different from other European cities I have been to. People in Zagreb know a lot about Turkey because of our historical ties. Turkish coffee is also very popular but the brewing process is totally different than how we make it. Their local meals are also very close to our traditional meals. Therefore, I felt like I was in ‘dream’ Turkey while being there. I used ‘dream’ because the city is incredibly safe and clean, and people are very respectful and nice.