Cultivating memorable international experiences

Broadcasting live from our virtual global classroom…we are the Marketing & Culture (M&C) team for the Spring 2021 International Study Trip Course!

On our stellar team of enthusiastic and creative individuals we have Jia Lei, Neha, Samanvitha, and Stefania! Our roles in the M&C team are to create the best possible experiences for our fellow travellers by cultivating opportunities to build connections, all while showing off the amazing work being done throughout the term.

In our small team of four, we have self-assigned lead roles to keep us organized and on track to meet our goals! The four lead positions are: Engagement Lead, Logistics Lead, Social Committee/Events Lead and Social Media Lead. Throughout this process, we have been able to work well together as a team as we keep each other updated and share tasks when needed.

Here’s a snapshot of our roles and what we are looking forward to in the course:

Neha - Engagement Lead

Photo of NehaDescribe your position. What do you do?

As the Engagement Lead, my primary responsibility is to create opportunities and spaces for classmates to connect. This includes planning virtual coffee chats, hosting “Guess Who” Kahoots games in class with questions about classmates, planning in-class theme days to encourage engagement, and getting classmates talking both inside and outside of the classroom environment!

What's your favourite part about this role, and what skills are you learning?

My favourite part about this role is that I have been able to further understand how to create strong team dynamics within a virtual environment. With everything being online, it can be hard to foster strong relationships with your peers whether it be on a co-op work term or in a class. This course is teaching me how to incorporate different strategies within existing practices to foster deeper meaningful connections with the people we are working with, even in an online setting. The pandemic has taught me the value of connecting with your peers and through this course, I have had the opportunity to not only facilitate the building of these connections but also to make them myself. I am ecstatic to have met all the amazing people on the trip and am looking forward to continuing to build these relationships throughout the rest of the term!

Jia Lei - Logistics Lead

Photo of Jia LeiDescribe your position. What do you do?

I deal with a lot of organizing related to M&C logistics to make sure our plans can be implemented successfully. For example, per the request of my M&C teammates, I send out an action items list to them at the beginning of each week to help everyone stay on track with their assigned tasks. In addition, I am responsible for sharing weekly team updates with the other subcommittee team captains and staying up-to-date on what other teams are working on. This in turn allows me to ensure M&C has a holistic sense of what’s happening in the course so that we know how to best support the other teams in our roles.

What's your favourite part about this role and what skills are you learning?

Despite the remote setting, I find myself really enjoying getting to meet new people, collaborating closely with my peers and creating meaningful connections. My favourite part of my role is having the opportunity to interact with all those involved in the course from my peers to my professor. Overall, a personal goal I hope to achieve by the end of this term is to possess the ability to effectively communicate with others, especially during the exciting week of interviews with industry professionals!

Taking the international study course online presents unique challenges related to ensuring team communication remains strong, clear, and open, regardless of differing geographical locations of others. This course has given me the chance to refine my organizational skills, as it is essential to making sure team communication is clear, deadlines are met, and that our ideas are feasible, realistic, and timely when being executed.

Samanvitha - Social Committee/Events Lead

Photo of SamanvhitaDescribe your position. What do you do?

As the Social Committee and Events Lead, I am responsible for engaging the students in our class to become better acquainted with one another by organizing social and bonding activities for everyone to participate in. To put these events together, I coordinate with the class to determine people’s availability, set up meeting logistics, and organize the game or activity.

What's your favourite part about this role and what skills are you learning?

My favourite part is creating and discovering interesting activities and events that the class can participate in. Especially with our class being conducted virtually and being more disconnected than in person, putting these events together has an impact on how well the students in our class interact with one another. Over the past year, there have been many platforms and games that have become available that encourage and facilitate interactions between individuals while at home. Implementing these ideas while adding a fun personal twist has been truly exciting. By taking up this role, I have enriched my organizational skills, along with learning how to better communicate with my classmates. Learning how to use new platforms and integrating them has helped better organize our events, and kept up our regular communication with the other students in class. I hope that the events my team members and I put together help my peers better connect and bond!

Stefania - Social Media Lead

Photo of StefaniaDescribe your position. What do you do?

As the social media lead, I am in charge of corresponding with the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) and sending them our work to be posted on official @UWaterlooSAF social media pages. That work includes Instagram story highlights, videos, blogs, and more. For example, I have taken charge of designing the Instagram story highlights and I will be running the Instagram takeover for the M&C team.

What's your favourite part about this role and what skills are you learning?

My favorite part of this role is being able to be creative and express myself. It doesn’t even feel like work because I’m having fun! Designing posters, putting together unique introductions for everyone, and filming videos are both rewarding and entertaining. What I will take away from this course is learning how to market things such as the SAF and myself. A lot of work goes into launching a campaign and being able to be on the side that does the work is very interesting. It puts a new perspective on how I consume content and has taught me how to better brand myself for my career and personal life.

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