Scottish, but I have been teaching at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland for over 20 years.
English Literature, with a focus on the Early Modern period (16th-17th centuries). At VIU I taught two courses: "Shakespeare in Venice and Verona" and "Early Modern Print Culture in the Digital Age".

Ever since I learned that Lausanne was a partner of VIU I thought it would be a great thing to try! I was keen to teach in a different environment for a change, and to live in a different place for a semester.

My experience at VIU exceeded my expectations! I had an amazing time during my semester and would love to go back. Teaching students from such different cultural backgrounds, and with different academic specializations, made for a really interesting class. The Shakespeare class I taught was particularly special. A great group of students from very different backgrounds, very few of whom had studied Shakespeare before - and we ended up staging an abridged version of Romeo and Juliet, set in Korea, for the mid-term workshop! The setting of VIU on San Servolo is also unlike anywhere else I have ever taught and helps create the sense of community that we feel in the classrooms.

I recommended to my colleague because, the sense of community that I mentioned above is partly due to the fact that most of the students are spending just one semester in Venice and so they make friends very quickly among themselves. I think this adds to the goodwill of students in the classroom. But it's also great to meet colleagues from other fields and exchange ideas - I made some good friends among my colleagues during my VIU semester. We are encouraged to participate in field trips around Venice organized for the students and that was extremely interesting as well.

In my experience the cultural mix of the students made for a very nice classroom. Using English as a lingua franca put everyone on a similar level (as it happens I had very few native English speakers in my classes). The classes could be really enriched by students bringing knowledge and experience from their different backgrounds into the classes - in my print culture class I had quite a few Korean students who told me about early Korean printed texts, and in the Shakespeare class many students were interested in exploring Shakespeare adaptations in their own cultures.