This blog was created as part of the Erasmus Mundus Crossways in Cultural Narratives Masters programme, which is the only one of the EU approved and funded Erasmus Mundus Masters programmes to specialise in traditional humanities with a modern languages background. The Crossways Consortium comprises 6 top-class European universities.

For further information, please check the programme's official website and the universities' websites on the Useful Links section on the left. If you wish to have a specific question answered, please click on Email here and submit your query.

Mundus students, here you will find regular posts regarding the universities of the consortium, tips, activities, events, pictures, etc. Apart from checking it regularly to keep yourself up to date, a good way to use the blog is through the search device. We already have a significant amount of information on some universities of the consortium, so if you want to find information on a specific city, type its name in the search field (top left). You will then see all posts related to that specific city (because each post title contains the city's name in it). You can also type "General" in order to find information concerning everybody.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


It was definitely not by chance that the consortium agreed to have the first “Induction Days” of the Erasmus Mundus Master Crossways in Cultural Narratives organized at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FCSH) of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa. At the beginning of September the city is still not too busy and it is exclusive property of the tourists that wander around with their maps and hats to protect themselves from the sun: with their calm gait they give a relaxed rhythm to the Portuguese capital. The sun shines on the river Tagus and on the white calçada, close by beaches are still full and nights are pleasantly warm and encourage social encounters. 

For all these reasons and more Lisbon was chosen as the perfect location to celebrate the passage of the Master from Crossways in European Humanities to Crossways in Cultural Narratives. The list of attendants changed several times, as usually happens before important events, but finally seven of the Universities of the Consortium managed to confirm the presence of at least one representative (Nova de Lisboa, Sheffield, St. Andrews, Poznan, Santiago de Compostela, Perpignan and Guelph) as well as eighteen students of different nationalities. Unfortunately due to visa issues the representative of Guelph and two students had to cancel their trip last minute. 

Day 1 

After the usual running around to adjust the last details the three hosts from the Universidade Nova: Prof Teresa Almeida, Prof Ana Matos and Dr Chiara Dalla Libera were ready to receive all the guests. Students and Professors gathered together on time at the Auditorium 1, where they received their welcome kit and they took their seats. The meeting counted with the presence of the Vice-president of UPVD, the coordinating institution, Professor Dr Jean Benkhelil and of Prof David Hill as external evaluator.

The welcome speech was given by the director of the faculty, Professor Dr João Sàágua, followed by the vice president of the University of Perpignan, Professor Dr Jean Benkhelil. Prof Jonathan Pollock, general coordinator of the masters, took the word and explained the changes the MA underwent since its creation and reminded that all the attendants were there to celebrate the passage from Crossways in European Humanities to Crossways in Cultural Narratives. The main changes concerned the path structure and the possibility of taking an internship during the second semester or in the summer between the first and second year. Prof Pollock added that those changes were the result of self-reflection and discussion between the Professors of the different Universities, thanks to their different backgrounds and academic experiences. He underlined that the improvements made since the foundation of the master, came as a result of the analysis of the feedback given by the students and of the reflections of the meetings held by the consortium during the years, that have always been a great source of input in order to increase the quality of this MA.

The morning meeting continued with the presentation of the institutions of the consortium: Poznan, Bergamo, Perpignan, Lisbon, Santiago de Compostela, Guelph, Sheffield, St. Andrews, Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México, Universidad Nacional de Entre Ríos. On behalf of each faculty a representative described the facilities available, the study programmes and research methods, the courses students could attend, the support offered to the students, the city life style and its attractions and anything else the University and its city could offer.

Students could travel in their minds from one place to the other and start wondering what was waiting for them at the University they had chosen and which kind of great adventures and struggles they could experience on the way. For the other attendants it was a great opportunity to understand how this MA is run at the other Universities, to know the different programme structures, and they could compare different approaches to the academic life and possibilities of research.

The morning meeting was concluded by Dr. Silvia Ceausu and her presentation of the EMA (Erasmus Master Students and Alumni Association): she explained how the EMA can be a great network of support and a great tool for students to clarify doubts, ask for tips and find work and study opportunities.

During the lunch break Professors and students had the chance to continue discussing about the MA and to get to know each other better, but in a more relaxed context. After lunch Professors and students went different ways and resumed work in different rooms to discuss what concerned the respective sides. 

Dr. Silvia Ceausu and Dr. Chiara Dalla Libera (previous Crossways student) met with the students and explained them their personal experiences and gave them suggestions regarding the challenges they will face, the structure and organization of the universities they will attend, some tips about libraries, house searching, travelling… 

The two main topics of dialogue and of concern of the students turned out to be the recognition of the Diploma and the final dissertation (topic, length, evaluation, supervisors). Students also took the opportunity to share their experiences with this MA until that moment, especially in terms of bureaucracy and visa issues, giving an interesting feedback of the whole enrolment process to the organizers. Finally the students had the chance to share their hopes and expectations and described their backgrounds and how their life paths induced them to choose to participate in the Crossways MA.

Professors met in a different room and essentially discussed and clarified aspects of the new programme such as internships, the choice of a foreign language course, decided on selection meeting dates, scholarship grants available, amongst other issues.

The first day is over and it is now time to relax and try some good Portuguese food. After and adventurous trip in the metro and a short journey by boat the group finally crossed the Tagus river and reached the restaurant “Ponto Final”, a lovely restaurant by the river with an amazing view of Lisbon and of the bridge “25th of April”.The delicious food, the good wine, the warm atmosphere and nice talks helped the success of the night and the happiness of the dinner guests.

Day 2 

The programme of the morning meeting of the second day gave space to the students to present themselves to the Professors, to talk about their expectations, reassure their fears and clear their doubts. The five most original written texts by the students were chosen to be read to the audience by their authors: through their words the students pictured their personalities and defined their hopes towards the MA with their fresh and enthusiastic approach, longing to make the most out of the opportunity they were given and excited for the various challenges that were waiting for them. Dr. Chiara Dalla Libera was mediating the speeches and, as previous Crossways students, said some words about her personal experience, describing how the MA could be a transformative experience and she remembered with sweet nostalgia the first funny episodes of her Mundus life. 

Afterwards the Professors also shared with the students their experience dealing with Erasmus Mundus students throughout the years and explained their idea of this MA. Some of the Professors already had some experience welcoming the Mundus students at their Universities, guiding them through the administrative stages during the enrolment period, supporting and challenging their ideas during the writing of the dissertation. 

The last part of the morning meeting was spent with an open discussion between students and professors with the purpose of obtaining feedback on the enrolment process, the quality of the Mundus website (information available, layout, etc.), the structure of the MA, the courses offered and the requirements to access this MA. The debate gave the professors several starting points for a deeper analysis and improvement of the service provided.

During the afternoon the participants, led by Prof Teresa Almeida, Prof Ana Matos, explored the beautiful city that was hosting the event, discovering more about the Portuguese culture and cuisine. The “Induction Days” were over and the following day all the participants had to continue their travel to either a safe flight home or on exciting journey to the first city on their way as Crossways students. 

Chiara Dalla Libera