Conestoga news

May 15, 2024 11:36 AM

Exchange student from Czech Republic would happily extend studies at Conestoga

Tereza Mikulova jumped at the chance to be the first from her university in the Czech Republic to become an exchange student at Conestoga.

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Exchange student Tereza Mikulova jumped at the chance to be the first from her university in the Czech Republic to study at Conestoga. Mikulova signed up to take four courses in the Human Factors and Ergonomics program and what she learned will be incorporated into her master’s degree in safety engineering centering on ergonomic assessment of the workplace..

The graduate student from VSB - Technical University of Ostrava arrived in January to take four courses in the Human Factors and Ergonomics program - a good complement to her studies toward a master’s degree in safety engineering.

Mikulova’s school offers exchanges all over the world and last year she studied in Cyprus, but Conestoga was newly added to the list of places where students could travel and she had never been to Canada.

“I just wanted to use the last opportunity to go somewhere else to study, learn the language and get new experiences,” said Mikulova, who returned home at the end of April for her finals and graduation.

Her master’s thesis centres on ergonomic assessment of the workplace and she’ll incorporate what she learned at Conestoga into her thesis. Previously, she completed a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety at her home university.

Conestoga held many surprises for Mikulova, starting with a different style of learning. Students get assignments and test throughout the term, rather than holding off to an exam at the end.

“It is good that we are going progressively and we are gathering the marks continuously, so it’s maybe I think a better way how to study,” Mikulova said.

The college’s amenities were also impressive, from the Student Recreation Centre at the Kitchener - Doon campus to the teaching spaces.

“I was very surprised of these labs here. The equipment here is really something very, very good, and I didn’t expect that. I really like that everything here is new,” Mikulova said. Oh, and the lockers. “Something that reminds me of high school, which we can see in American movies.”

While at Conestoga, Mikulova travelled to see other parts of Canada, including Montreal, Ottawa, Niagara Falls andCalgary with her visiting parents, where Mikulova was keen to also see Banff. She would eagerly extend her stay by a semester if she didn’t have to return home to graduate.

“I really like here. I really like Canada. I get used to this,” Mikulova said. “It’s a great experience. You get to know new people, new cultures. It’s something pretty incredible.”

Conestoga’s Global Initiatives team oversees exchange programs for both Conestoga students studying elsewhere and those coming here like Mikulova.

“We were thrilled to host Tereza at Conestoga and excited to bring our new partnerships with VSB Ostrava to fruition with the first exchange student from their university,” said Mariam Raza, manager of Global Initiatives and Partnership Development. “Tereza embraced our college and country during her exchange semester here. I am confident that her experience will benefit her future endeavours in career and life.”

Sadeem M. Qureshi, professor and program coordinator in the Human Factors and Ergonomics program, said Mikulova brought an invaluable perspective, and her unique academic and cultural experiences added depth to classroom discussions and broadened the horizons of full-time students.

“One of the standout aspects of Tereza's contribution was her ability to bridge cultures. Her willingness to share her insights from her home country and compare them with practices here created a dynamic learning environment. Our students not only gained knowledge about her culture but also developed a more global perspective of human factors and ergonomics and its implications for different industries. It's this kind of international exchange that truly prepares our students for the interconnected world they'll be stepping into after graduation,” Qureshi said.

“Tereza's presence reminded us of the immense value of learning alongside individuals from diverse backgrounds. It fosters understanding, collaboration, and, ultimately, excellence in education.”

Conestoga’s one-year Human Factors and Ergonomics certificate program teaches the knowledge and skills necessary to assess and design safe and productive work environments. Students use of a variety of ergonomic tools, techniques, technologies, and a solution-based approach to remodel work environments and increase work production and safety for employees.

The School of Community Services is a leader in translating students’ passions for working with people and making a difference in community into successful careers in human services and community safety.