The EURIE 2022 (Eurasia Higher Education Summit) took place this month as a hybrid conference (in-person, in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as online, virtually). Event organizers, Ayse Deniz Ozkan and Bengu Bostanci Karamanliogl, successfully ran over three jam-packed days, where higher education professionals congregated together to share their insights into pandemic responses, innovative programming, and new strides in internationalization for institutions all over the world.
Professor Arturo Reyes Sandoval (Director General, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, IPN, México) gave the opening plenary, addressing the pressures educators face throughout these challenging times, and delegates considered new trends and innovative solutions, further exploring higher education systems, student mobility flows, and recruitment dynamics in the Eurasian region.
The African Connection
Presenting in the first slot following the Keynote opening address, (before any Zoom fatigue could set in!) Virtual Internships presented with Botho University (Botswana’s largest private university) to showcase what a successful collaboration can achieve across borders.
The presentation entitled The African Connection-Global Synergy for Remote Internships was an evidence-based exposé of successful remote internships undertaken by students in one corner of the world with companies thousands of miles away.
Moderated by Shaun Butcher (Head of Partnerships Development EMEA) the session included a detailed explanation of the collaboration with Botho University by Aravinda Ram (Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor Employability and Technology at Botho University) looking at some of the learning outcomes of their students from four campuses in Botswana, Namibia, and Lesotho. This included skill-building, networking, and intercultural awareness, followed by an overview of the Virtual Internships programs that supported these results by Rachael Criso (Events Business Development Manager). Industry experts and a student’s voice narrated the international teamwork that produced these impactful programs and provided a roadmap for implementing virtual internships.
A Lived Experience
The true highlight of the session, however, was attendees having the opportunity to meet Leeroy Nyamandi, a Botho University student from their Botswana campus. Leeroy undertook a remote internship with Virtual Internships earlier this year, partnering with a Chinese real estate company where he worked as an Investor Outreach and Financial Analyst. Leeroy undertook tasks such as analyzing income statements for various clients, preparing ledger accounts and budgets, implementing LP/GP structures and financial structures, dictating how returns on a real estate investment are distributed, bank debt payback, and cash flow timing adjustments. He learned how to better manage his time as he worked across time zones and how to adapt to different situations in the interest of getting his work completed. Towards the end of his internship, Leeroy had a clear vision of his career direction and is now confident and committed to achieving his long-term, ambitious goals.
As he addressed the delegates of #EURIE2022, Leeroy said:
“Let me just emphasize that Virtual Internships has opened a window of possibilities for students like me who would otherwise only seek employment locally. However, our dreams and ambitions are much bigger and this opportunity given to me by Botho University has given them wings! I am now able to aspire for international work experience as geographical borders no longer matter. Equipped with just an internet connection and a committed and positive attitude, I am humbled and very privileged to have the opportunity to be part of EURIE 2022 and be able to interact with all of you who joined from across the world to hear my experience – I never thought that in the midst of COVID19 when I signed up to Virtual Internships, I would one day become the face of Botho University and Southern Africa to the rest of world – the world is now noticing us and I have no doubts that my African brothers and sisters are going to make the most of it. Thank you!”
What a privilege for us all as educators to be able to open up the world and to offer opportunities to young people to learn and gain work experience, like Leeroy. As noted above, Leeroy hopes these opportunities will expand across his continent to his peers. We can’t wait to work alongside Leeroy to make these hopes a reality through borderless education!
If you would like to learn more about this specific program or about how you can offer similar ground-breaking experiences to your students, please click here to set up a short meeting with Shaun Butcher (Head of Partnerships).