First Step into ALP

17 May

By Yong Cheng (Theme 7 – User Experience Design)

As I took my step into Zhejiang again, I was met with a refreshing sense of familiarity. The group mates I met 2 years ago in Zhejiang are now going to be our group mentors and teachers during the whole course of ALP. It hasn’t been long, but there has been much progress seen on both sides. Most of them are completing their Master studies, and on the other hand, I have completed my first year in SUTD. It’s really good to see them doing well and fortunately, 4 of them are going to be in the User Experience Group.

A huge difference between the last trip here and this one is the number of participants involved: 6 participants vs ~100 participants. This is also my first time that I am going to be in another country for more than a month, and it is not for just leisure but also for work and to learn. I hope that the learning will not be diluted and that my friends here can experience and learn more than what we have expected.

Stepping into Zhejiang

Stepping into Zhejiang

There was definitely a buzz of excitement amongst all participants during the first few days of our orientation into Hangzhou, China. Each theme was promptly introduced on the first day so as to allow us to get a know-how of what we were going to be involved in this 15 weeks. This was followed by a campus tour to teach us to learn how to use the nearby amenities followed by the application of mobile SIM cards and bank accounts. The User Experience Group will be able to have a one-month stint with Alibaba Company, and the opportunity to be our own boss! We will be helping other groups to sell their products on TaoBao or Alibaba and also something of our own – via optimized marketing and design of user experiences which can help us maximise profits. One cool thing about this group is that we may be able to earn money and keep it for ourselves! It is by far the coolest theme in this ALP in my opinion.

Talking about sightseeing, the view in Zhejiang is still as amazing as before. Hangzhou is one of China’s most beautiful places, as evident from its mountains, temples and of course the Xi Hu (West Lake). The greens and the water combine to give something that I can only imagine or picture in an encyclopedia or travel guide. Most of us brought along our cameras and started snapping whenever we got the opportunity.

The waters inside Zijingang Campus

The waters inside Zijingang Campus

A combination of the green and waters in Zhejiang paint a beautiful picture

A combination of the green and waters in Zhejiang paint a beautiful picture

Some fun facts:

  • ZJU’s Zijingang campus’s canteen is the largest in Asia
  • There are 54 table tennis tables on the 2nd floor of the indoor sports hall – 54 of them! Can you imagine them lined up in rows of 6 x 9?
  • The bus fare is fixed at a price of 2-3 yuan – which is relatively cheaper compared to our country’s.

All of us are still settling into the surroundings here and both SUTD and ZJU staff have handled all the procedures to help us smoothen this transition process professionally. There was definitely a lot of work handling all 100 students! All the bank account applications and mobile phone SIM cards – it was all so messy yet they got our particulars and preferences in an organized fashion. They also made sure that we had free time to explore the areas ourselves and settle our own issues which is very important especially for such a long trip in another country. We have it free and easy on Friday till Sunday – we still have not decided what to do during these few days, but we are going to make sure we will make full use of this time here.

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