Durgesh Sakharam Patil always wanted to become a civil engineer with expertise in building architectural structures. Coming from Maharashtra, India, he sought a master’s programme that would help him achieve his dream.
Although he initially planned and successfully passed the exam to join a programme in India, his fate took a different turn. The COVID-19 pandemic halted his plans and pushed him to head to Prague’s Czech Technical University (CTU) instead.
He has no regrets. “Prague is the perfect city to be a student in,” he says. “It has very affordable living costs, great architecture, plenty of part-time work options, fine beer, and its nightlife is second to none.”
CTU is one of Europe’s largest and oldest technical universities. It is home to over 18,000 students and is the highest-rated technical university in the Czech Republic. Established in 1707, CTU has built quite a reputation for itself, expanding its academic and global excellence in technology to eight faculties. These include Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Nuclear Science and Physical Engineering, Architecture, Transportation Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, and Information Technology.
The main CTU campus, on which most of the faculties are located, is not far from the city centre, 15 minutes on foot from Prague Castle and from the spectacular Lesser Quarter district, which lies between the castle and the river.
Thanks to an 80% Merit Scholarship, Patil pursued the Masters in Building Structure of Civil Engineering under the Faculty of Civil Engineering at CTU. He described is as “the best curriculum based on a systematic approach to learning with courses in finance, intellectual property, law and entrepreneurship.” With science and research at the core of their curriculum, CTU’s success in delivering a world-class education lies within its subject diversity and a faculty of dedicated professors. Students will leave CTU fully prepared to take on real-world challenges, armed with relevant skills that’ll help them in their careers.
Renowned professors lead courses at CTU. Having a passion for structures, Patil greatly benefitted from the Concrete and Masonry Structures and Timber Structure modules where he learned how to design manually as well as with the help of software.
Professors were engaging and continued to fuel his passion for this field. What’s more, they are veterans and experts in their fields. Patil credits his drive and ambition today to associate professor Professor Marek Foglar. “Under his guidance, I am writing my final diploma thesis. He has always been helpful, kind, and tough at the same time. I consider him my mentor as he encourages me to push by boundaries and he provides guidance on every step of the way,” he says.
An education at CTU helps students like Patil realise their long-term career goals. In Patil’s case, his philosophy in order to succeed professionally as a structural engineer is based on three main pillars: technical knowledge, experience and business acumen. At CTU, he found a master’s programme that would help him build a solid foundation in technical knowledge: “I believe that this master programme creates a solid base for civil engineers. One can learn a plethora of new concepts which are important from a practical point of view, making it very helpful for the forthcoming future.”
Although the curriculum is rigorous, international students have all the support they need at CTU. It is as student-centred as it is research-focused. For freshers, the university organises orientation week where students are exposed to in-depth information regarding all facilities and student services such as career counselling and a support centre for students with special needs. This helps integrate them quickly into the CTU student community.
Despite the differences between India and the Czech Republic in terms of lifestyle, culture, language, food and weather, Patil found himself falling in love with the city and getting accustomed to its ways of life. The huge Indian community there also helped Patil feel at home within the city.
To enrich the student experiences on campus, CTU offers limitless opportunities for students to pursue their interests outside of class. Patil channelled his passion for photography and videography by joining the CTU committee where he managed the university’s social media presence. Not only was he tasked with the responsibility of capturing and making videos, he also assisted in carrying out orientation programmes.
He would soon land even more roles. “Seeing my organisational and negotiation skills, I was appointed as Event Management and Marketing Head of TECHFIESTA, a national level event organised by my college,” says Patil. “During my final year, I was not only appointed as a university representative but also as a university board member of students. Thus, i maintained a balance between academics and cultural activities.”
With one more year to complete his master’s programme, Patil is confident he has a bright future ahead. “For the next couple of years, I see myself staying in Prague because there are numerous opportunities for a structural engineer to learn so many new things with the help of advanced technologies available here,” he says. “I want to gain as much practical knowledge or experience so that I can then serve my best to society.”
Aspiring engineers, take the leap and choose Czech Technical University today.