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September 11, 2013 12:09 PM

International exchange program promotes cross-cultural cooperation

Two engineering students from the Technical University of Liberec in the Czech Republic are currently studying at Conestoga as part of an international exchange agreement.

Linda Hulinska and Martin Dorotka are senior students in Liberec's Mechanical Engineering Program. They will spend one academic term in the Mechanical Systems Engineering Program at Conestoga, followed by a co-op term in a local industrial plant.

Two of Conestoga's Mechanical Systems Engineering students have departed to the Czech Republic to study at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Liberec. Gary Rachitsky and Christopher Murphy are in the last year of their baccalaureate program and will complete a four-month academic semester in Liberec as well as a four-month co-op term at Licon Heat Ltd., a Liberec-based company that manufactures high quality heat exchangers and convectors. They will return to Conestoga in April 2014.

Conestoga's Bachelor of Engineering - Mechanical Systems Engineering is Ontario's only college-based, accredited engineering degree program.

The details of the exchange arrangement were developed by Karel Frana, associate dean of Mechanical Engineering in Liberec, Calin Stoicoiu, program coordinator of Conestoga's Mechanical Systems Engineering program, and Tony Martinek, a former dean of Conestoga's School of Engineering Technology. Plans are now in development for an additional exchange starting in January 2014.

The current international exchange agreement builds on the Transatlantic Exchange Partnership project from the years 2008 - 2011, which linked three Canadian and three EU universities and polytechnics. Conestoga and the Technical University of Liberec served as the Canadian and EU project coordinators for that project, through which seven Conestoga engineering students studied and worked in Germany, France and the Czech Republic, while seven engineering students from Liberec spent up to eight months at Conestoga, the University of Waterloo and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary.

The academic exchange program is one of a number of cooperative project activities that were developed by Tony Martinek and Rob Evans of Canada's Technology Triangle in response to the visit of seven Czech scientists and engineering managers to Waterloo Region this past spring.

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