Jacklin Kertayasa: Studying Abroad at Home
For me, as I’m sure many people can relate, one of the hardest parts of the pandemic is not being able to travel. I have always prioritized global experiences as one of the most important parts of college, and I felt like I was missing out on a lot while staying at home. While trying to find ways to make the most out of my remote college life, I was lucky enough to stumble across the Global Engagement Fellowship Program. Even with world borders closed, I was able to meet and make friends from across the globe thanks to this fellowship, a new program set up by SCU Study Abroad and API.
Being in SCU’s very first cohort of fellows, I had no idea what to expect. We were put into random teams, to create a business plan rooted in achieving one of the Sustainable Development Goals. I ended up being placed in a team of 5 girls with members from Italy, Vietnam, and Nepal. We worked together for 12 weeks and decided to focus our project on improving the quality of education in flood-ridden areas of Vietnam. After a lot of research, scrapping value propositions, and changing plans we finally came up with the MekPack (named after our target area - the Mekong Delta). Designed for students who are unable to go to school during severe annual flood seasons, the MekPack is a waterproof backpack coupled with a floatation mechanism. We ended the project by pitching our idea to high-profile industry experts and ended up getting a lot of enthusiastic feedback.
Although we are unable to travel at this time, being able to learn about different cultures from my teammates during our meetings really made it feel like I was studying abroad from home. We were able to learn so much about each others’ backgrounds and cultures, and this experience will definitely remain one of the highlights of my time in college.