Coventry University recently hosted an Erasmus staff exchange visit from Ayten Gorgun Smith who works at Kadir Has University (KHAS) in Istanbul.

Ayten is Publication Coordinator and has responsibility for Media Relations at Kadir Has University. Her visit forms part of a wider Erasmus programme where 11 members of staff from KHAS have travelled to Coventry University to share knowledge as part of the strategic partnership between the two Universities.

Ayten’s role at KHAS spans both academic and professional services; whilst working for the Corporate Communications team, Ayten also lectures on Communication Ethics and teaches on an MSc course at the University.

Ayten is responsible for producing all of KHAS’ publicity material and newsletters. The publications cover a wide range of audiences including a community newspaper, a prestigious science, culture and arts magazine and an e-newsletter for all staff.

Ayten said: ‘Kadir Has University is much smaller in size than Coventry, we have 5,000 students but we are spread across three campuses so we need good communication networks to make everyone feel part of the bigger picture. I work closely with the students on the publications and we like to feature their writing and photography.’

During her week in Coventry, Ayten spent time with the International Office, with David Pilsbury and Charlotte Powell as well as finding out more about the Marketing and Communications team in Coventry. Ayten said: ‘It’s been a fascinating experience comparing the two organisations. We have so many similarities as well as so many differences. I’ve learnt lots about blogging from the Social Media team at Coventry which I will take back to Turkey.’

Ayten compared Coventry’s campus to an education tree. ‘Its branches spread everywhere across the city. It’s an amazing thing to see. It is so peaceful and tranquil here though, which is very different to Istanbul. I can hear myself think in Coventry. Both universities are living amongst the history of their cities, we both have lots of heritage and we both have links to peace and harmony.’

Away from the University, Ayten managed to sample British culture during her visit. She visited Stratford Upon Avon with Onyeka Okaro one of the University’s MSc students. ‘Onyeka Okaro told me that his Nigerian name means ‘no one is greater than God’ he was a great host. We completed the full Shakespeare tour and hired a rowing boat. It took us 45 minutes to learn how to row it but we had great fun trying. I also enjoyed an ice-cream by the river and even got to sample half a pint of Guinness, which was very nice.’

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