This November Linas Daubaras from Kaunas Forestry and Environmental Engeneering University of Applied Sciences, Department of Landscape Architecture and Recreation (Lithuania) went to Latvia University of Agriculture, Faculty of Environmental and Civil Engineering (Latvia), using a NordNatur travel grant and scholarship.
After completion of the staff mobility it is required to write a short evaluation, which can be shared with others through the NordNatur website. Please find here Linas his experiences with teaching landschape architecture (LA) and active tourism (slightly adjusted by me):
The visit was successful and very useful. At first I introduced my institution and the situation with landscape architecture (LA) teaching here. Later I presented my experience of how understanding the landscape and its development can be combined with active tourism (especially biking). Being a lecturer of green areas design and a professional tour guide at the same time, I have a unique chance to match those two areas of interest. The lecture was mainly based on recent experience (years 2013 – 2016) of cycling tours in the Baltic countries (including Latvia), Russia and Finland. It seems it was really interesting for the students, because I got many questions.
There was also a day for meeting staff of the hosting Faculty and discussing various problems of LA teaching, which are almost the same at both institutions. I have invited a colleague from Latvia to come to a conference in Kaunas – so we will have a continuation of the cooperation.
One more full day was given for exploring the recreational area of Tervete. We had a field trip together with the students and lecturers, and we were checking the current situation, the positive and negative sides and the way landscape architects can influence the situation. The students were split into groups with different tasks.
After this day, students had a day to prepare their presentations. They had done really deep SWOT analysis, and they had worked out their proposals. Presentations were based on my lecture and field trip information. The presentations were very interesting, even for one like me who works a lot with these topics.
Besides the planned activities, I had invited my Polish colleagues (landscape architects) to Latvia, and I introduced them to the Latvian lecturers – so cooperation between them will also start. I also helped to set up the landscape photography exhibition, brought together – so Latvian students and staff had an additional interesting event.
On the whole I’m very satisfied with the results of this visit.
As Linas mentioned in his evaluation, a colleague from Latvia will come to Kaunas (March 2017), also with a NordNatur travel grant and scholarship. It will be interresting to hear about her experiences!