Testimony Teacher's word

Erasmus +: the slow travel

Hélène Leruste, a teacher-researcher in agriculture at JUNIA, went on an Erasmus exchange to the Unversita degli Studi di Sassari in Sardinia in the Department of Veterinary Sciences. She opted for a soft mobility trip and talks about her experience.

Introduction Hélène Leruste

Hélène Leruste is a teacher-researcher in agriculture at JUNIA, specializing in animal sciences.
From February 12 to 17, 2023, she went to the Unversita degli Studi di Sassari in Sardinia in the department of veterinary sciences, as part of an Erasmus+ mobility, after 3 years of collaboration with this partner university.

Slow travel with Erasmus is possible, so why not you?

Do you know Erasmus mobility? It is this funding that allows students and teachers to benefit from a professional or academic experience in a partner university. Are you hesitating to take the plunge (joke intended, you will understand later…)?  and in particular are you wondering about the cost-benefit ratio and the carbon footprint of the operation? It is true that we can really ask ourselves these questions: Why travel? Do I have time? What will it bring me? What will it bring to the establishment? Is it really reasonable to move, after all we can do almost everything remotely, right? Here is a small testimonial of my recent experience:

In what context this trip to Italy happened?
I went for an Erasmus exhange at the Unversita degli Studi di Sassari in Sardinia in the department of veterinary sciences from Fabruary 12 to 17, 2023. This visit follows 3 years of collaboration, first remotely (due to covid restrictions) then with the visit of a colleague from Sassari in Lille last May to give lessons to a group of 4th year students of the ISA diploma. Politeness wants, of course, that when we welcome a partner then we visit the partner univerity (this is the concept of the exchange!)

Can you tell us more about your slow travel experience?
After hesitating for a long time to make the trip, I decided on a soft(er) travel option (than the plane) with a train + ferry trip allowing to reduce from 415 to 155 kg of Carbon emitted for a round trip of 1400km. The constraints are real; a higher cost of travel (but the Erasmus funding scales provide for a higher reimbursement if you opt for a soft mode of travel), a longer travel time (24 hours instead of ten hours, so 2 travel weekend). Advantages !? Less stress and a more comfortable trip (avoiding waiting times at airports, on the ferry one take the time to look at the sea is not stuck in an armchair, is better settled to work) and above all the pride of following my/our values and participating in our CSR policy…

What did this experience bring to you?
The discovery of a rich, diversified agriculture (breeding of fish at sea, breeding of sheep and cattle of the Sardinian breed, very small farms and large intensive farms) which cannot be done remotely. Exciting exchanges with breeders, veterinarians, academics and business executives, curious to understand our way of seeing things (my decision to take the boat rather than the plane having generated many debates on the carbon footprint of our/their activities ), to discover the existence of the Grandes Ecoles in France with a remote operation of the Sardinian education system, discussions on the adaptation of our farming systems to climate change (droughts, emerging diseases) and to societal expectations (animal welfare).

What’s next?
The second leg will take place from April 3-8. If you would like to meet Michele Pazzola, our Sardinian colleague specializing in small ruminant breeding, do not hesitate to contact me. A conference on agriculture in Sardinia will be organized that week.

A Junia delegation will participate in the Iroica network conference (European network of international relations officers at Higher Education Institutions in agricultural an related sciences) in June in Austria. We will travel by train, and we will notably lead a climate collage workshop!


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