Hex Great Global Challenge was an amazing virtual experience that provided me with great learning all through online means. The programme was a week-long event where we were placed in groups of approximately five people. Since this was an online, global event these groups included people from all over the world, speaking different languages and having different cultures.
We were given an issue: ‘Protecting Human Rights in a Post-truth World’, and we had to create a product to help combat it. We had online workshops all throughout the day, from 1am to 11am, and we had to organise between our group members who would attend which workshops (as only at least one group member had to attend each workshop and we needed to maintain sleep!). Some of my favourite workshops included Q&A discussions with very successful professionals on topics such as fake news, and hands-on workshops where we learnt how to digitally prototype a working app!
The first challenge my group and I faced was communicating over time zones. Since we had a team of people from New Zealand, Australia, and the UK we had to navigate everyone’s different sleep times and almost ‘pass the baton’ to different group members to continue the work while others slept. Overcoming this challenge opened my eyes to the capabilities of technology to allow us to collaborate with people from everywhere, no matter the time difference. Another challenge I faced was staying focused whilst being online all day. Although the content was engaging, sitting and watching a screen provided a challenge for me as it was less interactive than an in person workshop. To combat this I consistently took breaks to go for walks, cook food and talk to friends and family in person.
One of the things I took away from this programme is that I am now significantly more inspired about the possibilities of international collaboration in work. Seeing so many different people work together on a fascinating challenge opened up my eyes to what the future could be; amazing new innovations through international collaboration to create positive change in the world. I am excited for my generation and what our future holds, as networking with the HEX students was inspirational. These students are all passionate about changing the world for the better, and are more than willing to work together to achieve it!
One piece of advice I would give to students considering virtual programmes is to go for it! Virtual programmes are so convenient, you can stay at home and study at the same time! The digital world opens up so many opportunities to learn and somewhat travel while staying where you are. If you have the time, and are interested in the virtual programme’s topic, I would say give it a go!