2 of our employees enrolled at the Technical University of Liberec in Czech Republic in 2009. The Technical’s roots lie in the Technical College of Mechanical Engineering which was founded in 1953. Cyril Kumalo and Artwel became a part of 8 000 students enrolled in 6 faculties of the university. They were a part of the Faculty of Textile Engineering for 2 years. They were awarded a scholarship by the Department of Economic Development and CTFL SETA. This was to help advance their careers. They graduated in June 2011.
The young men liked a lot about Czech Republic, disliked a little but experienced a lifetime of an opportunity. As expected from anyone, they became homesick and missed the familiarity of South Africa. They had to adjust to unfavourable weather conditions which saw winter reach -22 degrees Celsius, a temperature we know nothing about in South Africa. The language barrier often became a problem as very few Czechs speak English. That however did not hinder their level of socialising. They were keen to learn more, know more and to come back home well informed. They found that the Czechs were just as keen to share their culture. They were friendly and accommodative and treated all visitors like locals. It was surprising to learn that Czech women feel better if they are paying for the men when they are out on dates. Clearly Czech men need a lesson or 2 from South African men which I hope Artwel and Cyril were not shy in sharing with the Czechs – never let a woman pay her way!
Cyril Kumalo & Artwel Mfuywa – first day on snow
Jokes aside, this experience of going abroad was one the young men would never forget. They had a chance to make friends and connections with students from all over the world; France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Pakistan, Brazil, Canada and Russia to name but a very few. They were lectured by lecturers who are well recognised all over the world.
We hope and we trust that the company will benefit much from their experience and the knowledge that they have gained.