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Ljubljana Summer School Through the Eyes of Visiting Scholars

19.07.2018Comments are closed.,

Ljubljana Summer School (LSS) is a summer educational program of high quality, worldwide reputation, excellent courses and distinguished professors. Year after year it provides students with endless opportunities to learn and connect to thrive on their educational path. This year, the program connected over 400 students from 53 countries and 31 lecturers, from 12 countries and 20 different institutions, offering 26 courses. The diversity is truly amazing, and we took this opportunity to ask Professor Valon Murtezaj and Professor Kimberly King to share their views on the summer program in Ljubljana.

Professor Valon Murtezaj comes from IESEG School of Management, France. He has many global professional and academic experiences and is teaching a course on International Negotiations and Modern Diplomacy at the LSS.

Professor Kimberly King is a professor at San Diego State University, United States. She focused on investing and mentoring startups and high growth companies and is teaching a course on Business Plan Development/Lean Start-ups at the LSS.

1. How would you describe your overall experience, especially with the course(s), academic and organizational staff and students?

Professor Murtezaj: The general feeling is very positive, I am excited about the entire organization of this school. I heard about it before, but now it is my opportunity and privilege to be a part of this school by teaching here. The level of the organization is high, and all matters are coordinated very well. And in the addition, I think the international spirit within the entire school is amazing. Students are coming from all around the world, with over 400 students this year. I encountered very good colleagues, both here in the FELU and the international colleagues that I work with here.

Professor King: This is my fifth year at this summer school and it is always a very nicely organized program. I like it because it has both diverse students and diverse faculty, communication has been great, from submitting the course to getting all the information and setting up everything. I really like coming to Ljubljana and to the Summer school and I enjoy teaching here. It is an interesting atmosphere and a really good program.

2. What was your personal motivation to join this year’s program?

Professor Murtezaj: There are two things that intrigued me to be a part of this. The first is the city of Ljubljana and Slovenia in general. I like this country and the culture and tradition, and the values people hold here. And the second one is the school itself. It’s very international and qualitative and it’s always good to learn from other’s experiences.

Professor King: The first time, so five years ago, I got an email from my school, San Diego State University, talking about the program and although I have thought international students before, I have never thought overseas. So, this was a great opportunity to teach in another country. There is also a group of us now, who have been coming back for the last five years and it’s really great to come back every year and seeing each other as well as the entire staff here.

3. What are your experiences with the students so far – participation in class, motivation, preparedness and general knowledge? What are your thoughts on dynamics within classes as well as other offered social events and programs?

Professor Murtezaj: I have a very good class and I’m very lucky with that. I have 24 students coming from different parts of the world. They are very participatory, they bring different ideas and prospects for the topics because the class is about the negotiations and diplomacy. They are regularly on the courses and I am very happy with the students so far.

Professor King: The students are very excited, very interested and very engaged in the class. They ask a lot of questions during discussions. I think it’s a good mixture, I like the fact that you don’t have just one group, but that you have a diverse, multicultural group. I put them in mixed groups, so they must interact and talk and learn about other cultures. And I always like it when they share things from their countries.

4. What, in your opinion, is the biggest value of this program for you as a professor as well as for the students?

Professor Murtezaj: The thing is that we are living in times in which we should consider a classroom or a school both a learning and a teaching environment. The role of professor nowadays is not just to teach and to lecture but it is to learn at the same time in the class. So, everyone, who is in the classroom, both teachers and students, learn from each other and each other’s experiences. Galileo Galilei said: “I’m not here to teach anything, I am just here to help you find answers by yourself.” This is my philosophy of teaching in the class as well. This is the direction of the future of education. I, as a professor, am there to facilitate the discussion and to moderate it, but not to tell others that this is the absolute truth or to do the absolute judgment for any thoughts of others.

Professor King: I think it is just the fact that it is so well organized and because they have done this year after year, they really perfected it. I talked to a few students, who found this program on their own and there are not even doing it for the credits. I have not experienced any other kind of summer schools where they were this well prepared, both students and the faculty. They have a lot of experiences doing it, there is a wide variety of courses offered and it gives them the option to take two classes in the summer. And the social activities are exceptional as well, I like the fact that they planned different trips and events.

5. Why do you think it is important for students to participate in the international education programs, such as this summer school?

Professor. Murtezaj: One of the critical skills that everyone should possess nowadays is the ability to think at the level of the international environment and to deal with international cultures. We are entering the world in which everything is becoming more global and we should understand the thinking and the mindset of the other cultures and at the same time, we should bring our values and cultures in certain environment. So, by this exposure to the international environment, we take and give at the same time, hopefully, the best manners of each other. This is critical for the benefit of the human society.

Professor King: I think it’s vital. For some majors in our school, it is even a requirement to study overseas. We live in a global economy, so your company is no longer focused on one particular area, you need to think about other cultures, other countries and you need to think about diversity. So, I think it is rather important to have that experience, which gets you out of your comfort zone and it gets people to see the rest of the world and to realize there is a lot of differences, but there is also a lot of similarities. So just understanding other people and other cultures.

6. What is your opinion on Slovenia, what do you find most interesting about it, what surprised you?

Professor Murtezaj: The very first thing is the people – very kind, nice, gentle in communication and helpful and I have established a very good relationship with them. The country is very beautiful, very green – and you want to be even more green! Here you can really find a nice mode of living – the food, the culture, the mountains, the coast. You have everything in one small country and it is manageable to be visited. There is a great interest of mine to be a part of this also in the future. The reputation of the school is good, and I think it is on a great path.

Professor King: I like Ljubljana very much. It’s a small town, but it’s very friendly and easy to get around. I love the pedestrian zones and the fact that everyone comes together – both tourists and the locals are out in the evenings with their families. And, Slovenia is so close to other countries – we came from Vienna and next week we’re going to Budapest. So, you can travel all around and you have a lot of your own national treasures.

Iva Drvarič, Efnews





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