I loved this Challenge, because I learned a lot.
I made many international friends and got to know many awesome, cool, programme facilitators, guest speakers, and mentors!
The part that helped me to grow the most is my team working skills, within an online environment. I learned how to communicate with each team member, despite we were in different time zones. I learned that we each had different strengths and weaknesses. I was the task person, and I normally get things done. So I had a very high expectation for my team member. But because this was a leadership programme, after taking the first workshop, I immediately realised that my expectations for my team members were too high because they might not want to be ‘perfect’ in this project, and they had realistic reasons, as all three of my team members had university work going on at the same time as this programme.
I also realised that even though I was good at getting things done, I wasn’t really good with building relationships. I just wanted things to be done, which sometimes, I ignored the necessary human interactions involved in getting a task done. However, there was another team member, a student at the University of Oregon, who was amazingly good at talking to people, building relationships between team members, and resolving conflicts! He made our communication much easier and our team ended up very cohesive at the end of the programme.
Our team was a diverse one as well! Some of us were interested in sustainability while some of us were interested in leadership! Two were from the US, one was from Poland, and one was from New Zealand! We also study completely different things: I am an Arts student and one other team member is a “3MP” student, which stands for ‘Planning, Public Policy and Management’. It’s a jargon at the University of Oregon. After knowing that, I feel like I’m an insider J
In terms of the programme content, the workshops were done by different guest speakers. They had different expertise and they were from all walks of life! We even had the former US ambassador speaking to us!
I did have a favourite workshop though, it was called ‘Design Thinking’. It was a very engaging workshop and the guest speaker made it very interactive (despite it was online!). He also gave us very practical tips on how to think from the users, and the community partners’ perspectives when designing a solution for the environmental problem of the city Eugene.
Lastly, to finish off my little blog piece/report, if you consider doing a virtual exchange programme with 360 – do it! You won’t regret meeting awesome people, with different cultures, backgrounds, expertise, students, community partners, programme facilitators, faculty directors, and potentially – the mayor of Eugene and US ambassadors!