Inspired by her father who is a process engineer, Venezuelan Angie Gil Leon was always passionate about all things medicine and engineering. From treating cancer to shortening the production of vaccines from years to months, the profound impact of biomedical engineering was never lost on her.
What was missing, however, was a world-class programme in Latin America that would let the 20-year-old use her engineer’s mind on medical problems. She looked to Europe and found the Biomedical Technology programme at Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague.
Now in her third year at the university, she can see her CTU degree is so much more than an academic credential. Rather, she has found a programme where she can curate a “broad expertise to develop answers to persistent global health problems, such as changing how patients are treated and lowering healthcare costs, making a huge impact around the world.”
Her conviction stems from CTU’s accolades. It is the biggest technical university in Central Europe, with more than 310 years of tradition, excellent research results, a great number of specialised labs and vast study resources. “I am confident that this university will provide me with all the knowledge and opportunities I will need to become a future biomedical engineer,” enthuses Leon.
CTU is a place for all aspiring scientists and engineers to turn their passion into a career. The university offers 55 study programmes taught in English at its various faculties. These include Civil Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Electrical Engineering; IT and Business studies; Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering; Transportation Sciences; and Biomedical Engineering.
The Faculty of Biomedical Engineering offers a bachelor’s programme in Biomedical Technology, master’s programmes in Biomedical and Clinical Engineering and Systematic Integration of Processes in Healthcare as well as doctoral programme Biomedical Engineering.
A dedicated team of faculty members lead these programmes. “Professor Jiří Hozman has had a tremendous impact on my life in the biomedical field,” Leon shares. “He is constantly happy to assist international students in his classes, as well as providing international students with internships, and a welcoming environment in this new chapter of our lives.”
At CTU, learning happens in and out of the classroom. Thus, students are assigned with practical assignments to give them a taste of real-life application. “They offered us a range of hands-on classes at hospitals (such as Motol University Hospital, General University Hospital in Prague and Central Military Hospital Prague ) and laboratories, which improved our comprehension of the field.”
With classes shifting online due to the pandemic, both students and teachers had to adapt — CTU made this transition a seamless one for students. “The professors really tried their best to make the online experience as good as possible,” Leon explains. “We had the opportunity to go to the faculty for specific seminars and practical classes, which has been of great help for us.”
Despite being online, she found the classes very participative. She could ask questions and professors were always prepared with answers. If a student needed more help, the professors also provided online consultations and additional study materials.
Life on campus is just as inspiring. Leon’s days are usually packed with a diverse set of activities. “I spent most of my time on the main campus with my classmates, either at the faculty or at the National Technical Library, which is a valuable study centre,” she shares. “Every CTU dormitory has a gym that is open 24 hours a day; I aim to work out at least four times a week and take Czech classes at least twice a week.” Although she initially found learning the Czech language a challenge, “the faculty members were always willing to assist us as well as the local students.”
Being a member of the International Student Club in Prague helped Leon settle into her new environment quickly. “The ISC provides different trips, language courses, and events for international students,” she explains. “I am the CTU Ambassador for Latin America, where I assist applicants in selecting the appropriate study programme for them and guide them throughout the whole admission process.”
CTU students also have access to a wide range of support, including numerous career counselling services and resources to help put them in the best position professionally. “Getting a placement as a CTU student has been easy,” Leon says. “I am planning on doing my follow-up master’s at the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, apply for an internship in the last year of my master’s and stay in my new home, Czech Republic.”