Hi-tech trip to China an eye-opener
Reporter Tao Lin followed a group of AUT South students who travelled to China as part of their scholarships from telecommunications giant Huawei. Lin travelled as the guest of Huawei.
IT’S been an eye-opening experience for four Auckland University of Technology students who have just come back from the trip of a lifetime.
The bachelor of computer and information science students were the first recipients of a new scholarship programme between AUT’s Manukau campus and Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
Along with a new Huawei phone and $3000 towards study fees, the students also received a four-week trip to the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China.
They flew to Beijing first, where they learnt some Mandarin, took part in cultural activities and visited the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.
The Kiwis then joined a group of Australian students and spent two weeks in Shenzhen taking part in lectures and seeing the ins and outs of Huawei, including its extensive research, development and manufacturing centres.
Michael Muldoon, a thirdyear student, says he was taken aback by the sheer number of people in China and the erratic driving style.
But the knowledge and experiences he has gained far outweigh the culture shock.
‘‘Being put in a situation with total strangers and having to spend time with them, it’s a big journey through China experiencing parts of the culture,’’ Muldoon says.
‘‘It was an awesome opportunity and I don’t think there will be anyone who would say otherwise.’’
Learning under the tutelage of Huawei lecturers has helped give more context to what he is studying, he says.
‘‘I’ve learnt more about mobile telecommunications, the upgrading from the older systems like from 3G to 4G, and just what was involved with upgrading that.’’
Muldoon’s favourite part has been ‘‘taking what I do every day and seeing how it is behind the scenes’’, such as what happens behind the screen when he uses his mobile phone.
Fellow scholarship recipient Mark Manson says the trip has confirmed and given more depth to his original ideas on how things work in the information technology world.
Manson originally studied engineering but changed to computer and information science because he would be a better fit.
‘‘I’ve always wanted to be a programmer, I’ve always loved games so I wanted to make them,’’ he says.
He says one of the best things about the Huawei
it experience is being able to see theory in practice and understanding ‘‘ more of how cloud computing and software development works’’.
Huawei Technologies runs similar scholarship programmes with a number of universities in Australia, Malaysia, Spain and the United Kingdom and other countries.
Its partnership with AUT is the company’s first with a New Zealand tertiary institute.
Australian and New Zealand students took part in activities in Beijing including lion dancing, playing Chinese drums and learning some Mandarin before heading to Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen.