A story of an Academic visit to the University of Bath, UK
09.06-09.07.2019 Bath, UK
What do people think when they hear UK? They probably think about its beautiful capital of London, famous kings and queens, rich history, great powerful empire, the language, gentle aristocratic noble people with good manners and humour, tea, fish and chips, rainy weather and much more. This is the image that we have learning the language, reading the books and famous classic British Authors.
For me UK always was not only associated with its beautiful capital and language, rich history but one of the best Educational system and World famous Universities. So what is the secret behind that?
Within the framework of the project Horizon 2020, which is the European Union’s biggest research and innovation programme, I had a great opportunity to be hosted in University of Bath, which is one of the top research Universities of the UK, for one month Academic visit from 9 June till 9 July, 2019.The whole team of the University of Bath and the faculty of Politics, Languages and International Studies warmly welcomed me under the supervision of Dr. Sophie Whiting, who is the project lead and coordinator of the project. Our joint project “Disputed Territories and Memory” (DisTerrMem) is a three-year project funded by Horizon 2020, EU.
Being a Linguist and British Studies specialist by first degree, I felt like at home since everything was so close to my heart, language that I studied so many years, mentality, history and culture that I studied for 5 years in Yerevan State Linguistic University and this academic visit was an amazing opportunity to see visually and discover the culture of the this wonderful country. The city of Bath impressed me with its beauty and architecture. A fairy tell city of Bath, 156 km from west of London is the largest city in the country of Somerset, England, known for its Roman-built baths. This picturesque city with numerous sightseeing and cultural places became a World Heritage site in 1987.
The words fabulous, amazing, beautiful, stupendous, spectacular, wonderful, astonishing, become a part of your daily active vocabulary and life in the UK if you accept and value the culture and beauty that surrounds you.
With the help of my colleagues in the University of Bath I could actively participate in the various academic interesting meetings, exhibitions, presentations and life of the University. During my stay I also had opportunity to conduct research about my topic of exploring the management of competing memories of disputed territories across borders. Being Armenian during its history my home country saw many wars, invasions and its territories and boarders were seriously shifted and moved. One of horrible pages of Armenia history is the Armenian Genocide, which took lives of 1,5 million innocent people.
I managed to interview 9 Professors from the faculty of Politics, Languages and International Studies. After one month’s living in Bath and having life interviews and talks with people from the University now I know what are the secrets that British Educational system is considered one of the best in the world. Professors, first of all work hard to develop their skills and professionalism towards the subject that they teach, it’s quite a big competition, which no doubts affects the quality, they also have quite individual approach towards students, which makes studying process and communication very pleasant, interesting and enjoyable. And on top of that the methods, conditions and tools of the whole Education system is very well professionally selected and developed as the students are given voice to raise their issues, to be heard and they also evaluate the work of their professors. So its double sides development and growing together.
Within the project I also had opportunity to discover the culture, traditions, and way of living of this beautiful country. As we studied at school, the full name of the country is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But its power and influence goes further than the National Boarder of the country.
The slogan of the organization “Educational and Cultural Bridges NGO” (www.ec-bridges.com), which I was representing is the famous words of Nelson Mandela, who said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and UK is a vivid example of using education as a powerful weapon.
Within the project Disputed Territories and Memory (DisTerrMem), which is a three-year project funded by Horizon 2020, as a President of EC Bridges I had a pleasure to be part of this amazing project and one of the six partner organisations in the DisTerrMem consortium: four educational institutions and two non-governmental organisations (NGOs). As DisTerrMem brings together an international team of researchers from six organisations who are working collaboratively to explore the management of competing memories of disputed territories across borders.
The project will be continued till January 2022 with Academic visits and research to each other’s Institutions and no doubt the great beginning will lead to the harmonious and productive development of the project and cooperation between countries and Institutions.
The offical web page of the project is www.disterrmem.eu
Written by Arpine Kostanyan