Conestoga news

February 1, 2024 12:34 PM

Exchange program welcomes students from Conestoga's partner institutions

Conestoga’s welcome was warm, but Canada’s winter weather was rather chilly for Colombian exchange student Camila Castañeda García who joined the Baking and Pastry Arts Management program for the winter term.

Camila Castañeda García.jpg
Camila Castañeda García is an exchange student from Colombia who joined Conestoga's Baking and Pastry Arts Management program.

The exchange program is an excellent complement to the degree in gastronomy she’s pursing back at home at the Universidad de La Sabana in Colombia, a partner institution to Conestoga.

Eager for new experiences, the 20-year-old looked at schools around the globe, including France, Italy and Canada, before deciding on Conestoga where there was an emphasis on baking and pastry - Castañeda García’s passion.

“My decision to study in Canada and at Conestoga is fueled by the desire to explore diverse cultures, discover new places, and enhance my expertise and passion in pastry and baking.”

While at Conestoga, her courses are baking production, baking and pastry arts skills, dessert menu management, and nutrition and healthy lifestyle. Castañeda García appreciates the approach to instruction in the program.

“They allow you to do your own stuff and they are really comprehensive around everything,” she said. “So far, I really like the experience.”

And she really likes the “amazing” kitchen at the Waterloo campus. Students have their own equipment and can work independently to practise their skills. At her home university, Castañeda García typically works in a group of five people and that means not always getting the hands-on experience.

“You can actually learn from what you’re doing,” she said. Castañeda García is comforted knowing that she can reach out for support with any issue she encounters while at Conestoga. “I know that if I need anything, I can count on the college.”

Exchange students stay in residence housing and receive the same orientation and welcome material as international students. They bring their own expertise and experiences to share with students who come to study at Conestoga from near and far - and adding to the diverse study body is a win for everyone at the college.

“Conestoga’s commitment to welcoming international exchange students from our partner institutions around the world reflects our belief in the transformative power of cultural exchange,” said Mariam Raza, manager of Global Initiatives and Partnership Development.

“By opening our doors to the world, Conestoga cultivates an environment that prepares students for an interconnected world, promoting understanding, tolerance, and collaboration as essential elements of education.”

The School of Hospitality & Culinary Arts is a leader in culinary and hospitality programming that prepares students for successful careers in Canada’s tourism industry. The Waterloo campus is home to the school’s state-of-the-art culinary skills labs and student-run Bloom restaurant.