During September and October 2023, Dr Tinashe Ndoro and Dr Jade Verbeek, senior lecturers in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences’ (EMS’s) Department of Marketing Management, seized a remarkable opportunity to visit Jönköping University in Sweden. This visit was made possible by the Erasmus+ funding programme, which fosters academic exchange between Jönköping University (JU) and the University of Pretoria (UP).
The Erasmus+ programme is designed to facilitate the mobility of both students and staff across global academic institutions. Its primary objective is to equip participants with essential skills, strengthen their professional growth, and foster a deeper appreciation for diverse cultures. For academic staff, it offers the chance to acquire new competencies and explore innovative pedagogical methods. Beyond these academic pursuits, such programmes present a valuable avenue for reinforcing international partnerships, a key driver in the University of Pretoria's pursuit of global engagement.
During their visit, Drs Ndoro and Verbeek dedicated time to Jönköping Business School (JIBS), where they conducted a research seminar for faculty members, engaged in fruitful discussions with scholars regarding potential future research collaborations, and attended select lectures. The rich diversity of the scholars' backgrounds injected fresh perspectives into the ongoing academic dialogues at JIBS. These interactions not only allowed the scholars to share their expertise, but also provided them with invaluable insights into the academic environment at JIBS. Such visits exemplify the global nature of contemporary research and underscores the significance of continued international collaboration in advancing knowledge.
In their downtime, Drs Ndoro and Verbeek took pleasure in exploring the charms of Jönköping. They embarked on a journey to the quaint town of Gränna, famous for the "polkagrisar" (red-and-white candy canes) since 1850. Gränna, with its picturesque cobblestone streets and an array of candy stores where visitors can witness the crafting of these candy canes by hand, offered an enchanting experience. Of course, a visit to Sweden would not be complete without a visit to the iconic IKEA store and IKEA Café. Their adventures also included a visit to the Match Museum, an architectural gem dating back to 1848, as well as leisurely strolls in the leafy Jönköping Stadspark (city park).
From left: Anij Nagar, Joshua Bruyns, Dr Tinashe Ndoro, Sharle Smit and Rochelle van den Berg
Immersing themselves in the Swedish culture, Drs Ndoro and Verbeek also got to enjoy “fika” occasionally (a relaxing coffee and cake break, usually with a cinnamon bun) with some of the colleagues at JIBS, as well as the four BCom Marketing Management honours students from UP that are currently on an exchange programme at JIBS until the end of October 2023. During the visit, Dr Ndoro also got to celebrate International Day at JU with our students, who went on to win first place for the best stand, for a small group.
Dr Ndoro emphasised the immeasurable value of mobility opportunities for both staff and students, as exemplified by the Erasmus+ funding programme. “The programme plays a big role in expanding networking prospects, fostering idea exchange, and broadening one's perspective – not only in terms of academic and professional growth, but also on a personal level.”
“We are immensely grateful to the international relations teams at JIBS and UP, as well as the faculty at JIBS, with special recognition to Adele Berndt, Edward Gillmore, and Gonzalo Luna-Cortes, whose coordinated efforts made this exceptional opportunity a reality," concluded Dr Verbeek.