2020 – It has been quite a year! A year of constant changes and uncertainty, of worries and contemplation; even more so for the International Staff Unit (ISU), who in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was informed that as of June 2021 ISU would be no more.
At ISU, we are extremely grateful and touched by the immense support and acknowledgement that we have received during the months since the announcement of our closure. Hardly a day has gone by without a colleague reaching out with support and appreciation; it has meant more to us than we can express.
As in all adverse times, the pandemic has also brought positive outcomes in its wake. Necessity has instigated quantum leaps in online teaching and meeting activity and many have found a better work-life balance in the possibility of working from home. We have all found a greater appreciation for the small things – and the people - that we tend to take for granted in our daily lives.
Thanks to your unwavering support, the executive board recently reversed its decision to close ISU; this means that ISU will now still be here for you after June 2021. We have learned that many of you have taken time out of your busy schedules to contact rector and the executive board to fight the decision to close ISU; our heartfelt thanks for all your efforts and kind words. We look forward to continuing our collaboration in the years to come.
While times have been uncertain and we, like you, have had to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic, ISU has still been working at full force. We managed to execute the AAU welcome meeting for new international employees along with both rector and the Head of HR, before COVID-19 forced us to vacate our office once again; we have published a new welcome guide for our international staff and we have successfully completed our first online culture training.
In light of the current situation, we have ensured that all our services, including events and courses, are available online, thus guaranteeing you continuous support during COVID-19. Moreover, to keep everyone safe, we have put our drop-in sessions on hold and kindly request that you book a meeting instead.
With this unprecedented turn of events comes new hope for the future. In ISU, this is also reflected in the coming of new life, as our ISU Manager Kirsten Böttger Mohr is getting ready for her maternity leave, which will commence on 30 October 2020. While Kirsten is on leave, International Staff Partner Christina Lademann Wiederholt will take on the role as interim head of ISU.
As if this was not enough, ISU has been honoured with a nomination for this year’s AAU Working Environment Award; a nomination that we have received with both gratitude and humility – a big thank you to our nominators. The winner of the award will be announced at the annual AAU Working Environment Conference on 19 November 2020, if you wish to join us at the conference, you can sign op at aau.plan2learn.
Perhaps 2020 will not turn out to be such a bad year after all!