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At my university, I couldn’t help but feel a disconnect between what I was learning and how I could apply this knowledge to make a meaningful impact in the world. Don’t get me wrong: I attend a fantastic university and I love my school, but I longed to immerse myself in a more diverse community, filled with students whose ambitions and values paralleled my own. I dreamt of a community of students with ceaseless curiosity and unwavering grit, determined to develop not only a strong sense of self, but an even stronger unit together.
Then I found iXperience.
It wasn't easy to decide to leave what I was familiar with, pack my bags, and fly to Cape Town. I am 19, an explorer, a sister, a daughter, a friend and a student, but this would be a new role I would have to tackle on my own. While I questioned my ability to adapt and feel comfortable in an unfamiliar city, I knew the adventure would help me hone in on a transitional skill set I could not obtain anywhere else.
Upon arrival in Cape Town, I was immediately greeted by foreign yet friendly faces as my initiation into this unfamiliar family was solidified. In just one week, I have met incredible people who are just as interested in adventure as they are in academia. Their passion and love for life is infectious, and I am overwhelmed by the possibilities to make my mark on not only this program, but on the rest of my life. I've developed valuable skills in Product Management and learned how to pitch an idea, prototype a product, explore product-market fit, and work with developers.
Shail Highbloom, iX class of 2018
After class, I find myself at the workshop, collaborating with students and staff members in different courses, each gushing about what they learned in class that day. But with iXperience, there is an equal amount of learning to be done outside the classroom as well. iXperience has a multitude of optional activities for students to get to know one another and explore the city; including surfing lessons, dinners, nights in rooftop lounges, and hikes. I was also given the opportunity to give back to the Cape Town community through the Adaptive Surfing program and help a disabled mother enjoy the ocean for the first time in 14 years.
It's truly special being a part of the environment iXperience facilitates. With all the small accomplishments I've achieved in one week, whether it’s making friends, learning something new, or exploring the wonders of Cape Town, it’s really refreshing to say that I’m just getting started.