Overseas Institutional Visit (OIV): Nora Leach
Nora is on the Politics and International Relations Pathway at the University of Nottingham. Her research topic is: “From islands of excellence to state professionalisation: European integration and the management of bureaucratic elites in post-communist Europe.” From May to July 2023, she undertook an Overseas Institutional Visit (OIV) to Vilnius University, Lithuania.
Nora’s hosts at Vilnius enabled her to fully immerse herself in the life of their institution and she enjoyed the opportunity to interact with practitioners and officials from various local municipalities, which she found extremely beneficial for her current work. She participated in three international conferences. This was her first experience as a keynote speaker and as a member of a scientific committee, which allowed her to present her research to date and forge new connections, particularly important for future collaborations. Nora chaired a Master’s thesis defence, took part in marking with colleagues from VA Siauliai Academy and University of Pardubice, Czech Republic and delivered a two-hour lecture and a workshop to doctoral students from the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, who were visiting the host institution for a short internship – all very important experiences for her development as an academic and lecturer. Another aim of the visit was for Nora to continue her collaboration with academics from the Baltic region and Germany and together with her host, she visited Latvia and Bulgaria where she was able to meet her colleagues and also to be introduced to the Bulgarian academia.
The networks developed during the visit have already helped Nora immensely in establishing her name as a young career researcher in the Baltic region. In September, she took part in an intensive ERASMUS+ programme, delivering teaching to MA students and staff from Vilnius University (Lithuania), University of Latvia (Latvia) and University of Pardubice (Czech Republic). And in 2024 she will deliver teaching as part of a national MA programme, designed for leaders of Lithuanian educational institutions, and funded by the Lithuanian government.
“I consider the visit to Lithuania a pivotal step in my development, both regarding my current research as well as future progression as an academic…the connections I forged whilst in Lithuania are invaluable.
My involvement in a number of international conferences allowed me to disseminate my research findings to date and further engage with colleagues, which would have been impossible, had I participated remotely.
Importantly, the ongoing collaborative work on various international projects provides an advantage in terms of publications, which undoubtedly boosts my chances and offers greater possibilities in terms of future academic employment. Similarly, my extensive engagement with students from BA to PhD level and the chance to deliver teaching is also an essential step in my professional development.”
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