Cultural, Participant Perspectives

How I Experienced Asia From My Room: Jakub Nowicki

In this #MyPagodaStory series, we’re featuring guest blogs from participants that just completed our remote Global Competencies programme. Today from De Montfort University (DMU), we have Jakub Nowicki. Keep reading to see how Jakub got to experience Asia right from his room, and how he gained employability skills along the way!


Remote Internship

In early November, I received an email that I had been accepted into the Pagoda Projects Global Competencies programme. The program was to consist of a 4-week remote internship, which was to provide a positive outcome to the forced isolation through this latest scholarship opportunity. The team at Pagoda Projects were determined to ensure student experience remains high while we are all adapting to life throughout the pandemic.

Global Competencies Programme

Global Competencies can be divided into three large sections – weekly conversations with a foreign mentor (in my case I was paired with Oscar Liou from Taiwan), regular thematic webinars, and most importantly, expertly prepared courses enabling students to improve ‘work readiness’ for a post-pandemic business world. It sounds like a dream opportunity for every student, right? And IT WAS!

Skill Courses

During the 4-week period, I managed to create a brilliant CV, prepare a template for my cover letter, and do a self-assessment about my skillset – my strong points and points needing more development.

To start with, huge respect to the Pagoda Projects team for preparing such amazing skill courses. The first one I started working on was aimed at Cultural Fluency. During the prepared lessons, I broadened my knowledge about Greater China, Mexico, and Vietnam. Additionally, I am convinced that I am now better prepared for international communication within the industry. Next on the list was the Employability course. Hands down it was my favorite, but it was also the one I spend the most time on. During the 4-week period, I managed to create a brilliant CV, prepare a template for my cover letter, and do a self-assessment about my skillset – my strong points and points needing more development.

The course also taught me about the importance of self-presentation and our digital profiles. I firmly believe that all that knowledge will have a huge impact on my employment in the nearest future. Last but not least, Digital Competency. I started with lessons about LinkedIn – its importance and benefits. With clear guidelines, I created and set up my first professional LinkedIn profile. In the next steps, I started learning about the basics of digital marketing and SEO skills. The course ended with a masterclass on presenting and public speaking. Long story short, all the courses were carefully and thoughtfully prepared. They were easy to understand and to follow, yet they provided a lot of valuable information.

Events and Webinars

Opportunities & Initiatives, Diversity & The Workplace, Environment & Innovation or Personal Development – those were the examples of Pagoda Events running during the time of my remote internship. All of them were extremely informative and really well prepared. I was able to ask both hosts and guests multiple questions and learn about topics that interest me.

Cultural Mentor

Even though we were almost the same age, the way we look at world is completely unique. And what is even more shocking, we were getting along incredibly well despite all the differences.

During my internship, I was paired with a cultural mentor from Taiwan.  His name is Oscar Liou and he is 24 years old. Every week we had an hour-long video chat discussing multiple topics about our cultures – Poland, UK, and Taiwan. It really shocked me how different our cultures were! Even though we were almost the same age, the way we look at world is completely unique. And what is even more shocking, we were getting along incredibly well despite all the differences. We elaborated on topics like Industries & Opportunities, Music & Arts, Dreams & Goals and Communication.

The inside view of National Taiwan Concert hall.

As you can see, we had a chance to talk about our cultures, our traditions and about our personal life. I really feel like I made a good friend during that period. We even experienced AN EARTHQUAKE during our last video call! I could hear and see it via WhatsApp and it was super intense. Fortunately, Oscar and his family were all safe! I managed to pick a few photos me and Oscar shared with each other.

Oscar’s cat.

Favourite coffee shop.

My experience

I could not be happier to be able to experience such a great opportunity. First of all, I learned a lot about myself. Every week I was smarter and more knowledgeable. I expanded my knowledge on multiple topics such as Asian culture, employability and marketing. I also grew as a person. I gained new skills and opened myself to new experiences. And the best part of it was that I made a new friend along the way.  

Taipei 101 – one of the tallest building in Asia.