The telecommunication company HUAWEI invited ten of the best students of Austria to an unforgettable exchange program in China. Since the company invests a lot in promising young talents and educational projects worldwide, they initialized a competition for students in Austria to visit the company for two weeks. Among many applicants, ten outstanding students have been selected to enjoy an educational and cultural exchange in three of the most exciting cities of China. Among the winners, three of our students from FH JOANNEUM have been selected to travel to Beijing, Shenzhen and Hongkong.

While the competition primarily focuses on tech-students, students from related disciplines also get the chance to participate. For the first time since this program started, one of our design students has been selected and joined the program at HUAWEI. Natascha Eibl, Master student in Communication Design, was one of the ten lucky participants this year and traveled to China to learn more about the telecommunication industry and the culture.

The trip started at the beginning of September at the Vienna Airport where all students took their flight to Beijing. The group was a diverse mix of students with mainly tech related backgrounds. However, this shouldn’t prevent design students to participate in this program which is a great mix of cultural exchange, sightseeing, language classes, tech courses and even a calligraphy and painting session. HUAWEI takes care that this program gives a perfect overview of different sides of the Chinese industry and living.

The first week the group spent in Beijing where the students were introduced to Chinese food, the Mandarin language, and local markets. Even a trip to the Great Wall has been organized: A challenging one, regarding the thousand steps to reach the top and the summer’s temperature of around 36 degrees.

Nearly every day the guides arranged a sightseeing activity to balance the educational courses, introduced the students to authentic Chinese kitchen and showed them the best places for shopping and leisure activities.

The second week the students visited Shenzhen, where the headquarter of HUAWEI and the main factory are located. Shenzhen is known as the high tech and development hot spot of China. Many startups and tech companies are present in this fast-growing, active city. Our students met high-representatives from HUAWEI, expanded their knowledge during different exercises and got the chance to visit the high-tech factory of HUAWEI: An eye-opening and stunning experience for all of them. After their classes, the group always had time to explore the city, go for karaoke or just chill in the hotel’s lobby where they met employees and managers from the company to gain more insights and background information. Beside the Chinese culture, the students also got the chance to make new friends from two other groups which have also been on the Seeds for the Future exchange. The groups from Iraq and Romania joined the Austrian group during the stay and added a lot of extra fun and knowledge to this trip.

After the wonderful closing ceremony of this program all groups went to Hongkong where they enjoyed some free time, shopping and even more sightseeing before they caught their flight back to Vienna. Even if this program is focused on tech students, Natascha is assured that this is a great exchange program for every design student as well. She hopes that more students will take the chance and apply next year to be part of this great event.

Text: Natascha Eibl
Photography: Team Seeds for the Future