International Week

Be international at home

Between 9 and 12 November 2020, the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (TUCN) hosted the third International Week, event held under the motto “Be International at Home” and part of the activities proposed within the International Campus project – actions to consolidate the international orientation of the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (Grant number: CNFIS-FDI-2020-0340).

Organized for the first time in 2017, under the name “Meet_Ing”, the 2020 edition was transferred entirely online, due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The preparations started in 2019. The participants could be part the sessions by accessing a link posted on the university website. Despite the restrictions and challenges imposed by the online environment, the sessions of the event were attended by up to 120 people per day.

The schedule included various activities. The participants were greeted with a warm “Welcome” from the Rector of UTCN, Prof. Vasile Țopa, PhD, Eng. and other members of the administration council board. Following the introduction of the participants, the presentation of the European University of Technology, of which UTCN is part, was held by the coordinator of the consortium, prof. Timothée Toury, Université de Technologie de Troyes (France). To have a relaxed atmosphere, a quiz about the countries of the participants brought smiles and good mood. A short and fun course of Romanian language and culture followed, with paraphrases in English of some local expressions.

The second day began with the presentation of several universities participating at the event: University of Cyprus, University of Muhammadiyah Malang (Indonesia), Grand Ècole d’Ingénieurs CESI (Paris), Polytechnic University of Cartagena (Spain). Other attendees also came from the University of Aveiro (Portugal), Université de Technologie de Troyes (France), Technical University Riga (Latvia), Technical University of Sofia (Bulgaria), Izmir University of Economics (Turkey) etc. In the second part of the day a round table was organized, with prestigious guests – prof. Bernd Steffensen, University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt, prof. Pat O’Donnel, Technological University Dublin and prof. Karlis Valtins, Technical University of Riga. The topics addressed the challenges encountered in the establishment of the European University of Technology, but also the lessons learned in the field of internationalisation, in this pandemic period.

The third day of the event was dedicated to the academic community at TUCN and covered the extensive presentation of the European University of Technology (EUt +), followed by debates and a Q&A session. This presentation was made by Prof. Cristina Câmpian, PhD, Eng., TUCN project manager within EUt + and by Sen. Lect. Marius Purcar, PhD, Eng.. The topic was of great interest, confirmed by the large number of participants, over 120. During the meeting of the Erasmus + coordinators of the faculties within TUCN, we had the pleasure to have Mr. Mihai Găiculescu by our side, representative of the Romanian National Agency for Community Programmes in the Field of Education and Vocational Training (abbreviated as ANPCDEFP in Romanian). The discussion touched on multiple topics: the great challenges of the pandemic and their solutions; recent institutional changes; the importance of effective communication; the expansion and impact of digitalisation on the future of internationalisation; short presentation of the future program. In this context, of the near future, Vice-Rector Prof. Dan Mândru, PhD, Eng. presented the main directions of the TUCN Internationalisation Strategy for the period 2020-2024.

The last day was dedicated to international students, who presented us pieces of the culture and tradition of the countries they come from. The presentation that opened the day was supported by Erasmus Student Network (ESN) volunteers from Cluj-Napoca. The participants’ questions, discussions and appreciations made the meeting an exciting opportunity for intercultural and multilingual interaction, with participants from Benin, Algeria, South Africa, Cameroon, France, Czech Republic, Turkey, Nigeria, Turkey and Afghanistan.

International Week is a major event of our university and a great opportunity to recognize the value of international education, to promote collaboration with international partners. We are happy that we have managed to successfully organize the event in these conditions of travel restrictions. Access was free for all events, these being specially designed to inspire discussions and animate debates. The warmth and interest with which the events were received make us believe that the physical distance was fully compensated by the spiritual closeness, by the desire to preserve and strengthen the international cooperation, expressed by all participants. Hosts and guests, we embrace the same values and try to find a mutual way to value through diversity.

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