David Carlson

Job Post-program: Global Support Engineer at HEAT software.

What drew you to Applied Sciences – was it the Dual Degree Program (DDP) in particular, the Computing Science program, or something else?

I was drawn to Applied Sciences solely because of the amazing opportunities that the DDP program offers, and now I can honestly say that I am incredibly happy I chose it. Before starting the DDP program I had never taken a single Computing Science course in my life, nor did I even study Chinese for one hour, so it was quite the uphill battle for me. But now I really see the importance that computer skills play in the job market. I definitely don’t have any regrets.

During your time in China, what surprised you the most?

There are so many things that surprised me it really is difficult to choose one. Some examples might be: pollution, communism/socialism in practice, quality of food, and dialects of the Chinese language. I guess something that had a major impact on me was the cost of living in China compared to North America. Take for example the cost of buying three square meals a day. In the city I was living in (Hangzhou), I could easily eat for 3-4 days on only $15 CAD. A typical meal would often cost less than $3 CAD and may have consisted of: stir fried noodles with beef, a hard-boiled egg, dumplings, and a bottle of water. A possible reason for food costing as little as this is that the minimum wage is only about 0.75 cents CAD per hour.

What did you learn from the experience (in a few sentences)?

I learned that regardless of race or culture the issues that people deal with in their everyday lives are often universal, such as issues pertaining to relationships, money, work and academics. It seems like no matter where someone comes from, there’s almost always a common ground.

What advice do you have for students who want international experience?

Keep an open mind. You need to accept the fact that just because someone 1300 miles away does something differently than the way we do things here in North America, it does not make it wrong. You need to be accepting of new philosophies and methods. If you do this, you’ll have an amazing time regardless of where you go in the world.

Did you work overseas and if so, where and what did you learn from it?

I had two opportunities to work. The first was in an internship at a software company. I was project manager for my group of eight and we developed a simulated stock trading system. From this experience, I learned first-hand the importance that communication plays in the workplace and if certain team members aren’t communicating effectively and efficiently, the quality of the project will suffer.

The second opportunity was a job that I was offered from an administrative staff member at the university; I was again employed at another local software company, except this time I was acting as a translator and a manual tester. From this experience, I got to see the work that the staff at this company put in; they worked 12 hour shifts every day, and 2–3 times a week they would go play badminton together.

David Carlson
2005 Entering Class