Our first meeting with alumni and friends in Melbourne on Monday evening became a festive occasion. 35 alumni, exchange students, friends and honorary doctors took part in the event, where many new connections were made. This was one of several events on our trip to Melbourne and Sydney this week. Uppsala University has had exchange agreements with both Melbourne and Monash universities since the beginning of the nineties. Hundreds of students have travelled in both directions over the years since. Both current and previous exchange students have borne witness of the great value of such an exchange period. Australia is both safe and familiar, all while having a clear Asian dimension.

On Monday and Tuesday, I (Eva) have had interesting talks with the University of Melbourne and Monash University, together with my Swedish colleagues Catharina Svensson, Kerstin Rydbeck, Erika Dabhilkar and Kay Svensson. It is interesting to learn about these universities’ strategic work with internationalisation. They have a holistic approach which includes both research and education, and also their international ‘impact’. To them it is to a large extent about systematically describing the results of their research and education, and building a professional and global readiness among their students.

We have also discussed how we can develop our collaborations in already established areas as well as new initiatives such as summer/winter schools and how we work with European research funding. At Monash University we also discussed an upcoming application for mobility for students, researchers and teachers within Erasmus+.

Higher education in Australia is a sector going through large changes. State funding at Monash University has shrunk from 65% of their budget for research and education 15 years ago down to 35% today. Still they manage to maintain a high international level and continue to attract students and researchers. We also discussed their work with quality management as well as admissions and student recruitment, which are central issues to is in Sweden too.

Today we are visiting the University of Sydney. We will get back to you with a blog post from there towards the end of the week.

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