Thursday, February 4, 2010

Syria, Damascus, Snowing??!!

Yes it really is snowing here.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was a travel day. We drove the couple of hours from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and then it was a three hour flight to Damascus in Syria. It was one of those frustrating days you have when you are travelling for work – you get a glance of a place – but have no time to have a really good look. Dubai is somewhere I would really like to spend some time in – but alas it will not be on this trip. Work trips are mainly about airports, hotels and other universities. That is not to say that such trips are not enjoyable – they are!

In terms of holidays and personal travel I think work trips can be helpful “spotting” trips. I get a glance of somewhere and put this on my list of places to go back to on holiday with Anita (my wife). Personally I have never been able to mix business travel with personal travel; hence Anita has very rarely travelled with me on work trips. I know others manage to combine the two – but I never have managed it. I find I cannot concentrate on a meeting knowing that Anita has been left alone. We have always found it better go back to the place that I have spotted – together.
It is really cold here. I have travelled extensively for work over the years. But I never seem to learn the simple fact that not all places have the same climate as the place I live! I have purchased a fleece
jacket – but I am still freezing!

So, yesterday was a travel day. If you are on your own these are wasted days – but not if you are travelling with colleagues. It has been a great pleasure to travel with Ken, Geoff and Ali from the CMS. I feel I have got to know them and to understand the International Campuses much better. This always happens when you travel with people – you have time to talk and get to know the person rather than the position. Just like a personal holiday you have time to dream. So we have been dreaming up lots of ideas of how the University can go forward.

There was also time for Ken to brief me on his recent trip to Saudi Arabia. His feedback was that CQUniversity fared well at the International Exhibition for Higher Education in Riyadh. The CMS team represented the whole of CQUniversity. They put particular emphasis on the Central Queensland campuses as compatible destinations for Saudi students. Significant interest has resulted in applications for engineering, IT, nursing and doctoral programs. I think the University can expect to see these applications coming through in the near future. We all need to work to turn these applications around very quickly. The international market is VERY competitive and the sooner we can get offers out, the better. So I would encourage staff in Faculties and Divisions to work really hard and fast to convert these applications to offers and then on to students. We have a lot to offer – we don’t want these potential students missing out! The great news for and about these students is that they will come with full funding from the Saudi Ministry of Education and /or other sponsors.

It is great to see CMS and the International Office of the University working so closely together. This is leading to some great results.

So why am I so late posting today – well I now have an eight hour time difference between me and home – and only a two hour difference with the UK. That coupled with the snow makes it feel a long way from home.

1 comment:

Kathy Ramm said...

Hi Scott
Blogging your trip is a great idea - hard to capture on a blog the excitement of sitting in an airport for 4 hours. But you are right- great opportunity to get to know your travelling companions and learn so much from them. And mid-flight ideas are always the best.

We in the International office are preparing for the activity to be generated on your return.....

Travel well