SFU News: Outlook bright for DDP grads

June 10, 2010

The first three Chinese students to graduate from SFU’s unique dual-degree program in computing science offered jointly with Hangzhou, China’s Zhejiang University (ZU) all agree it has opened unexpected doors to the future.

Ning Yang, Xiaoyuan (Vivian) Xu and Wei Lu will receive their SFU degrees on June 18 in Burnaby, but they will miss the ZU convocation ceremony, which is also in June.

ZU students in the program spend two years in China and then two years at SFU, while SFU students first spend a year learning Mandarin then two years at ZU and a fi nal two years at SFU.

Both countries’ students go through the program together and simultaneously earn a degree from each university.

“The best thing about the DDP program was the opportunity to take the co-op semester—there’s nothing like it in China,” says Yang, who parlayed a co-op at Microsoft into an upcoming full-time job with the company in Redmond, Wash.

“The co-op program gave me a lot of assistance in fi nding appropriate companies for my skills and telling me which companies were looking for employees.”

Xu, who also secured a job with Microsoft, did two co-op internships, spending eight months as a developer at IBM in Burnaby. She values both the co-op experience and the chance to fully appreciate a new city and culture.

Now, she sees her future in North America. “A lot of my friends in the program are going back to China, because China is growing and they see opportunities,” she says.

“But I really like it here. People in Canada are less aggressive, and I prefer a more relaxed life.”

Lu didn’t do any co-ops but instead returned to Hangzhou each summer to work as a software developer. He’ll attend UBC on an international merit scholarship this fall with plans to become a computing science professor.

He had several post-graduate offers from U.S. universities, “but I love Vancouver,” says Lu.