A Look Back at First Code’s Tour to Singapore: An Exclusive Visit to Carousell

Thinking back to the tour to Singapore a few months ago, I can imagine how the students will also one day think back to this experience and how it was especially memorable for them. For some of them, it might have been things they saw and experienced at the FutureWorld exhibition or the Science Centre, something they internalized after hearing the Carousell Head of Engineer’s story, for others yet it might have been the challenge of creating a mobile app for the Carousell’s Stories page, or having made a new friend they still keep in touch with.

For me as the tour leader, it was observing the students keen on asking questions during the Carousell visit, seeing their different interests shine through while creating the final group project, and seeing new friendships being formed and old friendships growing deeper.

Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.


Visiting Carousell Headquarters & Hearing the Head of Engineer’s Story

On the second day of the tour, we visited the Carousell headquarters and got to hear from Victor, third employee ever at Carousell and now the Head of Engineer. Carousell is an online marketplace for buying and selling new and secondhand goods. It was founded in 2012 and is now valued at over US$550 million.

Many of our students are interested in coding and may consider making a career out of it in the future. Victor broke down the two career paths for people with coding backgrounds: one as a producer focused on doing the coding of various projects of the company and one as a manager of producers focused on managing people. He talked about how he started off as a producer building the main products as the third employee at Carousell, then shifted to managing the producers as the team grew.

Insider Info: Victor also shared some exciting new features that the company is working on. One is an AR (augmented reality) feature where users can simply raise their phone camera to scan their environment. Recommended prices for items in the camera view would automatically pop up!

Being immersed in the company’s environment and hearing Victor’s story, the students got to zoom out of their regular classroom setting to imagine their own future career paths. After having a go at the foosball table and feeling the comfort of the huge Snorlax pillow chair, many of them were simply inspired by the fun work environment and could easily imagine themselves working at a tech company like Carousell in the future!


Creating a Mobile App for Carousell’s Stories Page

For the final project, the students were tasked to create mobile apps for the Carousell Stories page utilizing the coding concepts they learned throughout the week using MIT’s App Inventor tool.

They were split into groups of 3-4 with each group assigned a team leader. For many of the groups, there was one student who right away said they wanted to be in charge of designing the slides or one who everybody selected to work on the coding. I loved seeing Andy jump right into the coding and his team member Frank getting excited about filming a short clip and editing it on iMovie to add to their presentation. The task of not only creating a mobile app but also developing presentation slides and presenting in front of the group allowed different students’ strengths to shine through.

Below is an example of one of the groups final project. Alexa from this group did an amazing job incorporating a variety of elements into the app allowing users to submit a star rating, to type out a short story with characters limit, to activate their phone camera, and to view stories that other users have previously submitted.



Making New Friends & Deepening Existing Friendships

It was really heart-warming seeing how quickly friendships formed and how existing friendships developed. New friends were quick to develop their own inside jokes that stuck throughout the week! The bond of existing friendships grew even tighter because they were together in a new environment faced with new challenges.


For two of the girls, Alexa and Catherine, who had known each other for many years prior to the trip, they shared a room with a younger girl Louise. Not only did they become great big sisters looking after Louise throughout the week, but they soon found out they each had a storage of knock-knock jokes and riddles and were each others entertainment during meal times.

Looking back, the week was full of adventures exploring the host of various museums, experiencing dorm life at the top pre-tertiary institution in Singapore, Raffles Institution. It was challenging learning how to work with different teammates, designing their very own Carousell Stories mobile app from scratch. More importantly, it was a great opportunity for students to get out of the comfort of their own homes and develop independence.

Watch the recap video to feel it yourself!

Looking for a Coding-Focused Study Tour for Your Kids? Learn more about First Code Academy’s Launchpad

Launchpad is a one to two-week overseas holiday camp where students have the unique opportunity to experience life in a global innovation hub, meet like-minded innovative individuals and create projects to solve real-life problems in the community. Launchpad started in summer 2018 to bring students who are interested in coding to see how real world innovation works.

Registration is now open for Shanghai in December 2019 – limited seats still available! For more information, check out our Upcoming Programs or contact us at launchpad@firstcodeacademy.com or WhatsApp us on +(852) 27722126.

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