Get to know the Global Opportunities Team and what has inspired us to travel the world and help students to do the same! We also find out why the GO Team love Queen Mary and their top picks to visit in East London.
This week we sat down with Erasmus+ Manager, Wiebke Leugers, to hear why she moved to London from Germany and about her experiences studying and living abroad…
What’s your role at Queen Mary?
I am the Erasmus+ Manager at Queen Mary. Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. The programme has different sub-programmes (known as Key Actions) and I manage 2 mobility projects at Queen Mary. Even though the programme is mainly known for student exchanges in Europe, we also work with universities beyond Europe, and staff can participate as well! Queen Mary is working with well over 100 institutions where students can go and study and staff can go and teach. Training opportunities are also available to both students and staff.
If you could study at any of our Erasmus+ partners, where would you go?
Queen Mary is working with so many excellent intuitions – that is a difficult decision! Erasmus+ exchange agreements work on a departmental level so first question is what am I studying. Regardless of that I would probably pick the University of Stockholm as I have recently visited and totally fell in love with Sweden.
Is there anything in London that you think doesn’t live up to stereotypes/expectations?
The weather! People say it always rains here, that is not true. England is generally a wet country but London is very dry. I tend to ask our students to count the days it rains while they are here and let me know before they leave. They are usually surprised how little it rained.
Did you study abroad?
I did. I spent a year studying in the USA at Western Connecticut State University. I had such an amazing time and am still in touch with many of the friends I made back then. I have also done a work placement in Ecuador, Quito. And before I started my first job in Germany I did an Erasmus work placement at Queen Mary!
What was one of your best moments when studying/moving abroad?
It was actually before I studied abroad; when I did 6 months’ work and travel in Australia. I was on this huge market with all these people and it smelled so amazing, the sun was shining. All of a sudden I realised that I was on the other side of the globe. I was so happy that I made it happen and had gone all the way “down under”, the world was my oyster! It actually made me cry.
What makes Erasmus special?
The programme is the same anywhere in Europe so the support students receive is very similar no matter where they go. Being funded by the EU students are eligible to receive a generous grant to support them financially while abroad.
Favourite place you’ve ever traveled to?
Everywhere has been amazing so far but Quito was quite different to everywhere else I had been and experienced. People there have so little but are generally happier with their life. The variety of fruit available was also something I had never seen and tasted before.
If you could live somewhere else in the world where would it be?
Somewhere either in the mountains or close to the mountains. Scotland?