The Faculty of Engineering and Science (FICA) of UFRO organized a relaxed virtual meeting with students who participated in the FICA IAESTE internship program 2020 for practical training abroad, in order to share their experiences.
With the participation of authorities and academic staff members of the university Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO), employers, and representatives of the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE), the students shared their international mobility experience in a meeting that had to take place online this time, because of the pandemic caused by COVID-19.
The students who participated are José Guerra and Karolyne Díaz from Panama; Gabriela Silva and Nicole Proano from Ecuador; Diego Villagrán and Hernán Cid, two Computer Engineering students from UFRO; Pedro Anabalón and Nicolás Lefin, Chemical Engineering students from UFRO; and Misael Ramírez, who studies Civil Engineering in Computer Science at UFRO.
“These foreign and national students make it possible for us to continue with the FICA IAESTE Program, which is an interesting program for internships and practical training abroad. It benefits everyone involved, because it allows us to receive a certain number of students from other parts of the world at our university and gives us the opportunity to send the same number of our students to other parts of the world for their internships,” Dr. Rodrigo Navia, the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, pointed out.
In response to the pandemic and in order to continue with the program, a new modality of virtual internships was introduced in May 2020.
According to Carolina Cárdenas, the person in charge of IAESTE Chile, “the different countries that are members of IAESTE believe that this modality is a great opportunity for international cooperation from home. Thanks to this modification, UFRO students became the opportunity to carry out international internships with employers from different countries, such as the Czech Republic, Colombia, Brazil and India. However, we hope that it will be possible for our students to carry out their internships on-site again this year”.
FICA IAESTE has also been able to offer different virtual internships for foreign students, through academics of the Universidad de La Frontera, during 2020.
Gabriela Silva, an Architecture student at the ‘University of San Francisco’ in Quito, Ecuador, describes her virtual internship experience with Dr. Juan Pablo Cardenas of the UFRO Department of Civil Engineering as positive. “There are subjects I did not have at my university and I feel that I have learned much more with Dr. Cardenas. You could probably say that the construction methods are a little more basic in my country, because we only have two seasons, winter and summer, while Chile has four seasons, what means that you have to work differently. Besides of the learning process, Dr. Cardenas has been quite supportive and also allowed me to participate in his classes.”
Diego Villagrán, a Computer Engineering student at UFRO, is a real fan of the FICA IAESTE Program. “Thanks to this program, I had the opportunity to carry out two internships abroad. The first one was in Brazil in 2019 and the second one in the Czech Republic, which started in February of 2020 and had to take place under the virtual modality because of the pandemic. I am still working with them in this modality and I am very satisfied. You can learn a lot, as long as you know how to make the most of it,” he explained.
This way, the Universidad de La Frontera, through its Faculty of Engineering and Science and the Student Mobility Office, has been able to continue with the coordination of internships abroad for its students during a very complex year 2020, thanks to an alliance established with the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) in 2017, a cooperation initiative, which at UFRO is coordinated by Gabriela Reyes.
Written by: Daphne Bormann