Summer: a time for study trips and overseas travel
The summer break is here and some students are travelling and studying, for the experience and for credit points
Seeds in China
Leading Chinese ICT Company Huawei is hosting 24 students from the Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATNU) on its Seeds For The Future program, including Sweeta Chand and Johny LI, who are approaching their final year in their Bachelor of Science in Information Technology/Bachelor of Business degrees.
This three week tri-annual program introduces students to Chinese culture at Beijing Language and Cultural University, and to Huawei’s operations at its HQ in Shenzhen. Costs are met with support from the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Mobility program, the ATN and UTS.
Johny was alerted to this opportunity by a post on UTSOnline in August, while Sweeta came across on CareerHub. Both found the application process ‘pretty straightforward’, requiring a resume, academic transcript and a 300-word response to the question Why science and technological innovation is essential for Australia’s future?
By October they were notified they had been selected and began an induction program culminating in their departure for Beijing on 25 November. As neither have previously participated in overseas study/exchange, they admit to being very excited by this opportunity.
“I have friends who’ve had overseas experience through BuILD and they really recommend it so I thought this would be a great option,” said Johny.
“Learning and seeing up close how things are done in industry, and within Chinese culture will be really interesting – much different to spending summer sitting in an office in Sydney!”
For Johny there is the added opportunity to improve his Mandarin language skills; admitting his spoken Mandarin is more ‘Chinglish’ and that he can’t read or write Mandarin, he is really looking forward to the intensive cultural program and connecting with family roots.
Sweeta is looking forward to her first visit to Asia, and doing all the “tourist attractions – forbidden City etc., that I’ve only ever heard of or seen on TV, and also for experience within the global ICT sector. I’ve only really had exposure to start-up culture so I’m really interested to see how a global corporation is structured and operates."
From Beijing the students will all travel to Shenzhen where Huawei is based and continue the program with insight into Huawei’s business culture and values, how it operates as a multinational, visiting laboratories and production facilities and participating in activities where they will get technical training from Huawei staff.
Johny says heading off with a new cohort of fellow students can also help create an Australia-wide network for the future – and one which, working together, could address how Australia incorporates scientific and technological innovation.
Pollinate in India
Electrical engineering student Joshua Mendez also heading overseas – initially to Cambodia and then in February to India as the first UTS/FEIT student on the Pollinate Energy Fellowship Program.
Joshua’s experience will differ from Johny and Sweetas in he will be living within a community, experiencing first-hand the resources – or lack of – available to people in rural villages, and where he will likely experience more ‘culture shock’.
His participation will also result in credit points towards his degree.
Through his part-time job in his local RSL club he is going to Cambodia in December to support social projects selected by the Club executive. Then in January he will be in the field again, this time in India, on a project to develop capacity building for a community project focusing on renewable energy.
A Pollinate poster on campus caught his attention, and he squeezed in his application just before closing date, providing his resume, and answering key questions about his motivation.
“I am very interested in renewable energy, I’d heard from other students who’ve made contribution to social causes and I also to do more while I am at uni,” he said.
“At the moment most villages rely on kerosene which is very costly, dirty and dangerous. So we will be working together to develop other, renewable, solutions to improve power sources for basics such as lighting and cooking for the long-term.”
Pollinate describes the experience as a ‘deep dive’ - both into social entrepreneurship, and also to international development, living in some very economically and socially disadvantaged communities. Students will live in their own accommodation, have a translator and engage directly with a community member.
Joshua acknowledges there will be ‘culture shock’ but believes there are benefits all round in working alongside each other to develop sustainable - environmental and financial – solutions which will make a real impact on peoples’ lives.
If you are interested in the Pollinate program, applications are now open for mid-year intake.