Dual degree graduand combines her passion for computer science with languages

October 08, 2019

By: Andrew Ringer

When looking through the programs available at Simon Fraser University, one immediately stood out to Monica Luna-Estrada: the computing science dual degree program (DDP) at SFU and Zhejiang University. This program provides students with the opportunity to participate in an international learning experience at two world-leading universities for computer science.

“I’d always wanted to learn Chinese, I love travelling and I wanted to study computer science. I felt as though the program was made especially for me,” said Luna-Estrada, whose family is originally from Mexico.

This was the first time that she had visited China, where Luna-Estrada lived in Hangzhou and was immersed in the local culture.

“Pretty much everything that I learned about China while there was new info for me,” she said. “What stood out the most was how vibrant and lively the cities are.”

Stepping out of her comfort zone, Luna-Estrada was rewarded by learning a new language and culture, while making new friends. While Luna-Estrada’s first languages are Spanish and English, she is also fluent in French, and now Mandarin.

“It’s the kind of experience that leaves a mark and will teach you new things about yourself and the world around you,” she said.

From this experience, Luna-Estrada is most proud of being able to learn how to speak Mandarin fluently. She has used this skill by tutoring international students in both computer science and French. Her experience as a DDP student has helped her to connect with these students and find ways to help them in their studies.

When she graduates this month with her dual degree, Luna-Estrada will be receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from SFU and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Zhejiang University.

She is now looking to do more with languages and is keen on looking more into the international side of things.

“There are so many possibilities that I don’t think I would have realized were there without the DDP and I’m excited to start exploring them all.”