It's been a week since I came back from a short stage at the School of Architecture at University of Limerick (SAUL) as visiting lecturer with an Erasmus mobility programme for teaching staff, a school which shares certain similarities with the one I am currently teaching at, the School of Architecture at Universidad San Jorge. During the five days I stayed there I had the opportunity to join the elective Digital Fabrication helping teachers Javier Buron and Michael McLaughlin and students Stephen Bourke, Emmanuel Chomarat, David Grace, Weixang Huang, Peter Lawlor & Klest Pango to assemble the opensource laser cutter Lasersaur. This is the most most complex and expensive machine at FABLABSaul, but comes after having previously assembled a Blackfoot CNC Router (course 2011-12) and a Reprap Pro Mendel 3D printer (three weeks ago), which means that there's a highly skilled and talented team at the FABLAB.
In addition to my collaboration in lasersaur's assembly I could also join SAUL's daily activity by joining several lectures as a viewer (like a lesson on typography by Javier Buron or a lecture on city governance, which I found really appropiate and interesting and I regret not having known before) or even participating in the first SAUL's mapathon aimed to improve the quality of Limericks' OpenSreetMap's maps and data.
If I have always said that every student should join the erasmus mobility program as it is such an experience, being a visiting teacher has been even better (although the experience is completely different for obvious reasons). All in all, the experience has proven to be highly positive, not only because of the excitement of being involved in such a quest like assembling a complex machine as lasersaur or even contributing to OpenStreetMap (which is one of my latest hobbies), but also (and most importantly) because I could be part of what now I know is a unique school, even for such a short time, which has allowed me to learn other ways of teaching architecture. I am certain that this experience will be useful in order to improve my own teaching skills and I also hope it will benefit both Universities and will encourage mobility students and teachers.
I really hope there will be more opportunities like this in the near future. As starters, Javier Buron is going to visit USJ's School of architecture at the end of April...