Student Connect +
The mission is to connect immigrant students together and ease their transition in the United States through cultural immersion events.
This is a mock-up design of what the app could potentially look like in the hands of the user.
Evidence of a meetup event I have organized for my university for the International Business Association. Local and international students were invited to discuss business while learning about each other's cultures.
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Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Eligibility: Date of Birth
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Phone number : (239) 290-4397
Washington, Bellevue (98006)
Date You Started Your Project Started
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Idea (hoping to get started in the future)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
When moving to the U.S., students are often unable to speak the English language and struggle to meet others. Socialization becomes a daunting task, which leads to depression, impaired socialization skills, and difficulty adjusting. Solving this large problem is imperative because interacting with others when immigrating to a country is the best method to ensure language learning, development of communication skills, and a state of happiness.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
I want to create an app revolved around organized events where immigrant students between the ages of 11 and 18 years old can meet each other while getting acclimated to the American environment. The events will not consist of solely immigrants but natives as well, creating a diverse space free of judgment. It will be a safe zone for young individuals to form lifetime friendships that they would otherwise not have access to, all while practicing communication. English volunteers will be present to teach immigrant students the English language and kickstart their learning process. The app will have a messaging feature available to students even prior to meeting each other as a way to make them more comfortable to approach one another, free resources such as articles, and a program where students will receive the chance to be assigned to a mentor. Participating in this mentor-mentee program will facilitate a smooth, enjoyable transition to life and school in America thanks to the mentor’s guidance along the way. The mentor will benefit too by being exposed to a new culture or way of thinking. Diversity would truly be embraced!
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
My family immigrated into the U.S when I was only 12. Even though I was thrilled to experience the new culture, I couldn’t help but feel sad. I cried for nearly three full months. Starting school as an immigrant student was one of the worst periods of my life. I did not know a single word of English, which limited my chances to interact with fellow students and led me to spend my days depressed and lonely. I had no friends the first two years, the years that mattered the most in terms of developing my English-speaking ability and social skills. Due to the lack of interaction with other students, I have thus suffered in my later years with making friends or simply approaching others due to the diminished confidence. Since I never found the platform to safely engage with others and practice my English, I grew up to feel negatively self-conscious, even to this present day.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
I am stepping up to make a change because I want to speak up for others who are going through what I have experienced as a young immigrant student and create an experience that will enable them to grow. Moving to a foreign country can be one of the most exciting opportunities, but only under the right circumstances. The best way to acclimatize to a new environment is by feeling comfortable enough with the language, connect with those who feel just as foreign as you do, and make lifelong friends.
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
Anna is a 14-year-old girl from Venezuela. She just moved to America and enrolled in school. She knows only a couple of basic words in English, therefore struggles to make friends due to fear of rejection. She wishes there was some way she could meet fellow peers without being judged. Fortunately, she stumbles upon the Student Connect + app on her iPhone. She signs up for a meetup event that catches her attention. The day of the event, Anna is being approached by several young individuals who are curious to find out more about who she is and where she is coming from. To her surprise, she even meets a girl from her own country. Anna feels welcomed, supported, and happy. Together with her new friends, she interacts with a volunteer who teaches her the most essential English phrases. She feels accomplished. This will be a great new start after all!
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
There is not another app currently on the market that serves specifically 11-18-year-old immigrant students as a way to create a positive change in their lives. Other apps may organize meetups in a specific location, however without the intention to promote diversity and education. Student Connect + would be a safe zone for students to share experiences with events facilitated by a representative. No other apps out there offer English volunteering services at meetup events, an aspect that I believe will prove to be incredibly impactful.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
Until the idea for the app comes to fruition, I plan to personally organize small events in my city where I will take the time to teach others and empower them to embrace the beauty that is a transition to a new country. In fact, I have experimented with this concept by serving as the president of the International Business Association at my college in Florida. Through this association, I helped promote cultural exchange throughout the campus in a professional and academic setting while heightening students’ interest in the area of international business.By spreading diversity, open-mindedness, educational assistance, and support through the meetup events, I will know that I am making a positive difference. Seeing a smile on an immigrant student’s face will be the only necessary sign to prove Student Connect +’s effectiveness.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
To take the project to the next level, it would be wonderful to partner up with last year’s top finalist project, Peerlift, as a way to expose the newly arrived students, specifically those 16-18 year old, to a wide variety of scholarships and internships that they could take advantage of in their preparation for college or a career. If the app is well-received, the potential to open it up to all ages would likewise be of great benefit.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
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