Hybrid course on Migration between Slovenia and France
With a week’s visit in France
On 20-25 November, 11 students from the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social sciences, MA programme in European studies, paid a visit to their classmates at the University of Picardie Jules Verne in Amiens. The visit was part of the co-teaching class on gender and migration coordinated by Assoc. Prof. Marko Lovec (University of Ljubljana) and Assoc. Prof. Marie Ruiz (University Picardie) in the Fall semester of the 2022/23 academic year. Co-teaching is a spin-off of the activities of COST action WEMov that is chaired by Marie Ruiz, and in which Marko Lovec participates as Education advisor and Training school manager. Co-teaching consists in seven online classes with guest lectures from the COST network experts, and one-week visit of Slovenian students to France to complete the students’ group project assignments.
So, 9 French and 11 Slovenian students met online every week and were introduced to theories and case studies on migration, with a focus on gender. Our guest speakers this year were Nina Drejerska and Katelin Parsons on “Labour, rural and gender migration in Poland” and “Icelandic migration to Canada”.
Stellamarina Donato and Janet Laidla spoke respectively about “Returnees and women migrants’ stories” and “Educated women’s migration”.
Finally, the Women at Sea group renewed their intervention this year and was represented by Constantin Ardeleanu, Pirita Frigren, and Julia Stryker for a round table on gender and maritime history.
The highlight of this year’s co-teaching was the Slovene visit in France. During the visit, the students who had been working together online up to then met in person for the first time. They were welcomed by representatives of the University of Picardie Jules Verne (Vice-Dean of International Relations; Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages; Head of the Anglophone Studies department and co-director of Master’s degree in Anglophone Studies). They were given guided tours by French students around the campus of the Amiens Citadel and around the heavily impacted by WWI historical city that features water gardens, the St Leu area formerly inhabited by textile workers and contemporary street art exhibitions.
The French hosts organized a visit to the Jules Verne house and the cathedral – one of the most impressive in France – including climbing up the 302 stairs to the towers, and a guided visit of the Museum of Picardie that holds magnificent collections from prehistory to contemporary art.
The students also participated in a joint lecture organized by Mélanie Torrent on food politics, war and gender in the wartime contexts. In the evenings, they enjoyed local food and drinks at social events organized by the French hosts, including a student party organised by the students’ association BULE.
During the final day of the visit, Slovenian and French students departed for Paris where they were welcomed by the French Consultative Commission on Human rights (CNCDH) that oversees the implementation of human rights in the country.
Hosted in the Prime Minister’s offices at 20 avenue de Segur, the students were introduced to such topics as trafficking, gender and race education as well as current French legislation on migration issues by the CNCDH hosts.
The Slovenian students were also received by the Slovenian embassy in Paris where the ambassador and her team explained their work and responded to questions concerning their professional challenges and contemporary European politics.
The visit was concluded with a dinner in a traditional French restaurant. The Slovenian students extended their stay in Paris until the end of the week for sightseeing.
The visit was made possible by University of Amiens that funded the local programme and trip of the French students to Paris. The Paris final dinner for the whole group as well as the Slovenian students’ travel and accommodation costs in Amiens were funded by their teacher, Marko Lovec.
The results of the students’ final tasks including retrieving landmarks and milestones on women’s migration across Europe, drafting unknown women migrants’ stories, deconstructing gendered anti-migration posters etc. are included in WEMov's outputs, and these include a video documentary on women's migration available here.
The students' testimonies attest to the success of this second session. For instance, Léa from France described "From October 13th to December 8th, my french classmates and I followed a co-teaching class with Slovenian students on women migration organised by Dr. Ruiz and Dr Lovec. Every thursday, we met for two hours on zoom. Some very interesting researchers joined us to give us an idea of their work with Women on the Move. The best part of this course was to meet the Slovenian students when they visited Amiens. We enjoyed showing them around and meeting after work to learn about one another! It was a very nice experience, a way to meet other European students and to spend time together. I am glad that we were able to become friends with such kind and funny people!"
Tom from Slovenia thanked the French students for their hospitality: "Just to thank them again for all the effort. I didn’t expect top see so much of Amiens, you’re more than welcome in Ljubjana and we’ll show you around."
For Alexis from France, "it was a pleasure to present our city to the Slovenes, I hope they enjoyed it. Learning about women's migration with another group was rewarding".
Zoja from Slovenia said: "I really enjoyed the class, the different professionals, different perspectives, and it was really great that we could meet in person because we've had zoom for two years and it’s really great to see in person the people you’ve been working with."
This co-teaching experiment is going to lead to an Erasmus Blended Intensive Programme in 2023, with the addition of Nina Drejerska's students from Warsaw University.