Student profile: Jesus Esquivel – QChallenge Abroad participant
Jesus Esquivel is a first-year student studying MEng Aerospace Engineering in the School of Engineering and Materials Science. We caught up with him at the QChallenge Abroad pre-departure event to find out more about his upcoming trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Could you introduce yourself and tell us what you study at Queen Mary?
My name is Jesus and I’m in my first year studying MEng Aerospace Engineering in the School of Engineering and Materials Science. There seems to be a lot of us first-years on this programme, I think that’s because it is quite a unique opportunity, especially if you have no plans to go abroad as part of your degree.
So how did you first find out about this programme?
I received an email from my school, the School of Engineering and Material Science. I thought, okay, I’m going to apply because I wanted to do something like this during this year, and it’s really hard to apply to internships and other work experience placements. I thought this programme would provide that experience and more.
Which destination will be going to and what do you expect to get up to out there?
I’m going to Kuala Lumpur, which is somewhere I’ve never been before. When I first found out about the programme, we received an overview of the sort of activities that we will be getting up to, but as for the specifics, they are still to be discovered. We will be helping to tackle a particular challenge in the local city in which we will be staying, and this year that challenge is “How do smart cities ensure they are inclusive?” We will also get to work with local students from the University of Malaya to come up with solutions to this problem.
That sounds great! How are you preparing for your trip?
Now I am absorbing as much information as possible and going through all of the documents and information that the Global Opportunities team provided to us. When I find out more about the specific agenda of the programme and dig deeper into the scenarios, I’ll do a lot more research and prepare myself as well as I can so that I can get the best out of the experience.
Have you ever done any programmes like this before?
Yes, I’ve had similar experiences through work experience programmes, such as week-long discovery programmes and things like that. However, I’ve never done anything abroad such as this. That’s a big reason why I applied. It’s an easy way to get great international experience and you are supported by the Global Opportunities team back here which makes everything so much easier.
That’s a good plan! So what are you hoping to get from the experience?
Firstly, I really want to improve my leadership skills and I think this is the perfect opportunity to do so. The chance to visit new places is also very attractive, and that combined with tackling big issues and developing all kinds of transferable skills can only serve me well in the future. Going abroad opens your eyes to so many different perspectives. I’m also really looking forward to just travelling around. Kuala Lumpur is not a cheap place to visit, but it certainly is exciting. It’s great to be able to explore the culture, meet the people and visit different places, all while being part of this great project.
It sounds like you are going to have an amazing time. How do you feel the support has been during this process?
I think it’s been great! If I ever had any questions, the Global Opportunities team were able to answer. You can call them or email them any time and they would reply promptly. The application was straightforward, and the team will be providing us with even more information to further explain the programme going forward, so I’m really happy with that.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Good luck in Kuala Lumpur!