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Students to be taken behind the scenes at Chinese tech company’s HQ 

Photo: Remi Yuan

Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecoms equipment company, has taken root in Canadian universities with a  new program that will bring 20 Canadian students to tour its operations in China.

Seven universities are participating in the program, called Seeds of the Future, and the University of Ottawa is sending two students, to be selected in the coming weeks. The program has been in place in Europe for several years.

The participants will also tour Beijing for a week to get a better sense of the country’s culture.

“They’ll learn about the language, the culture, they’ll go to the Great Wall,” said Laura Markle, manager of public affairs of Huawei, and a U of O graduate.

“The students get to see how it’s done elsewhere,” said Valérie Samson, marketing and communications manager at the university’s Faculty of Engineering. “Maybe it will open their eyes, maybe that’s where they will want to work later on.”

Next, they will visit Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen. “They’ll get a full week of hands-on experience with what the company is doing,” she said.

Partnering with the U of O and Carleton was an easy choice, said Markle. “We do quite a bit work in terms of (research and development) and partnerships with these universities, and we’re in Ottawa, so it made a lot of sense.”

Another goal of the program is to broaden students’ horizons, she said, by offering an opportunity for students to learn more about the worldwide information and communications technology industry.

“The sector is moving fast,” said Markle. “It’s very global.”

International internships are most common for students in the Faculty of Social Sciences, which has its own program for undergraduate students in honours programs. This 12-week program counts as credits towards a student’s degree, and is available in the fall, winter, and summer semesters.

“Ottawa is big, but there are still a limited amount of positions that you can get in the region,” said Samson. “We are really trying to expand and get students to be more mobile.”

While this internship is specific to third-year engineering students, international internships could grow to include more programs, especially in engineering and the sciences, said Samson.