An MSOE student participated in a unique global opportunity this summer offered by Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies. Hunter Parks, a senior in computer engineering, gained international learning experience in an information technology company and a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture through a two-week, fully-funded 2017 Huawei “Seeds for the Future Program.” Designed to bridge the gap between information and communications technology instruction at universities and the practical skills required in the workplace, the 2017 Huawei Seeds for the Future Program combines hands-on training and the opportunity to learn from seasoned professionals. In addition to the technical training, participants received an introduction to Chinese language and culture valuable preparation for a career in an increasingly interconnected global marketplace in which understanding and cooperation between China and the United States. 

Hunter offered a glimpse into his journey in this Q & A:

What made you interested in the trip?
Initially, I was most interested in traveling to China to experience a part of the world I have never been to as well as learning more about the Chinese culture and language. As a bonus, I would have the opportunity to learn about technology created by one of the largest corporations in China, Huawei. For me, it was a combination of two things I enjoy doing - learning about technology and traveling to new destinations.

What did you do while you were in China?
The trip was two weeks in length overall. The first week was spent in Beijing - primarily learning about Chinese culture and language at the Beijing Language and Culture University. For the second week of the trip, I travelled down to Shenzhen to visit Huawei headquarters. This is where I learned about the cellular network technology that is manufactured by Huawei and worked in their lab creating 4G cellular networks.

Where did you go/what did you see?
In Beijing, I was able to see the Great Wall of China (and climb it), Olympic Park, Summer Palace, Silk Market, and Wangfujing Street - to name a few. Additionally, I studied Chinese culture and language at the Beijing Language and Culture University. This included Mandarin classes as well as Chinese calligraphy and painting classes. In my free time I visited several malls around the university district as well. When traveling to Shenzhen I was able to visit the Chinese Cultural Village, Sea World community area, Huaqiangbei electronics market and the Dongmen shopping district. While in Shenzhen, I also had the opportunity to visit and learn in the Huawei world headquarters. I visited the several campuses that comprise the two square kilometer Huawei base of operations. The Huawei campus offered me an opportunity to visit two exhibition halls where Huawei showed off the latest and future technology they have under development. The main attraction of visit Shenzhen, however, was taking classes to learn about Huawei cell phone carrier technologies. This included the antennas, cell towers, base stations, networks, and more that work together to create the cell phone service that we know today. In addition to learning the theory and devices that work together in a cell phone service network, I spent several days in Huawei's training labs working on actual hardware that is used by cell phone service providers. More specifically, I worked with a team to connect, program, and full setup a 4G base station that we used to make calls to each other. Finally, the trip was wrapped up with a graduation ceremony at the Huawei training center.

How did this trip help support the classroom learning you have been doing at MSOE?
Especially in Shenzhen, this trip clearly helped to support my classroom learning at MSOE. I was able to work directly with engineers from Huawei that were able to explain the technical details of their hardware - many of the technical details they talked about I had learned about previously in my computer engineering courses. Additionally, the software used to program the devices reminded me of several programs that are used throughout the CE and SE curriculums in order to program our hardware projects.

What did you enjoy most about this experience?
Overall, I believe the most enjoyable part of this experience was meeting new people from around the country. Huawei invited computer science and engineering majors from all over the United States to participate in this program - people that I would normally be unable to connect with in my everyday life. It was really rewarding to discuss how academics were at other engineering universities as well as various cultural differences that exist between people from the same nation living in geographically different areas. I know that I made friendships that will last a lifetime and I am very grateful to have shared this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with such wonderful people.