Google Women Techmakers 2017

From 28th August — 2nd September 2017, I attended the Google Women Techmakers retreat held in Seoul, South Korea. This blog contains my experiences on the application process and retreat.

How I heard about this:

Few months ago, I was scrolling through my school email and came across an EDM by Google that stated the application details and deadline for Women Techmakers scholarship. I can proudly say that applying for this was one of my best decisions ever because I was able to meet 71 passionate scholars from 13 different countries who shared the same passion for technology.

Advice:

Just apply!!! You have nothing to lose. Even if you don’t get it don’t feel disappointed and try again. You should organize workshops related to STEM for female students, work on your academic scores and leadership skills.

Why should you apply?

1. Scholarship — You will get a scholarship to use for your school tuition fees

Application process:

1. Submit application: After checking the eligibility criteria here, you can submit your application through this website. The application consists of some general questions as well as four essay questions on your background in technology, challenges and impact to society. If you are a masters or PhD student, you may also choose to attach a research paper.

Advice:

1. Update your resume before sending your application to make sure you have all the relevant education and experiences

The retreat:

This year the retreat was held in Seoul, South Korea. Google had arranged everything before the retreat started like flight tickets, accommodation, dietary preferences etc. I could not wait to meet the other scholars and the amazing team of organizers who had put this together. I was extremely excited for the retreat. I was flying in from Boston as I was at exchange at Babson College. Even though the total flight and waiting time was 22 hours and the time zone was 12 hour ahead, this did not reduce my energy and enthusiasm.

Day 1- 29th August 2017:

The official start of the retreat was at 6:30pm but as few of the scholars arrived earlier, we were out exploring Seoul before the start of the program. We went to Changgyeonggung Palace and Insadong neighborhood. It was a fun team bonding activity and I tried to talk to all the scholars along the way. We shared our experiences in technology, our student life, and everything in between.

Picture 1: Outside Changgyeonggung Palace
Picture 2: Karoke during welcome dinner

Day 2- 30th August 2017:

I woke up really early, as I was extremely excited to visit the Google Seoul office today. My roommate from Philippines had also checked in, and after getting to know each other, we really bonded over the whole trip.

Picture 3: Google office spaces
Picture 4: Google YouTube
Picture 5: CS Unplugged session
Picture 6: Korean pancakes

Key takeaway:

It was an intense day with a lot of opportunity to learn. The workshop and panel discussion was well organized and gave a good understanding on the topics. One of my objective was to speak to scholars from different countries during the breaks and while traveling in the bus to and from the hotel and I managed to do that and learn their opinions on this issue. One of my regret was not interacting with a lot of Googlers and I decided to make sure that I would do that during my remaining two days here.

Day 3- 31st August 2017:

A lot of fun and interesting activities were organized for today as well. The sequence of activities was as follows:

Picture 7: Eye-catching Bookstore at Coex shopping mall

Key takeaway:

I managed to complete my second objective by speaking to Google Cloud engineers, software engineers and recruiters to understand about their experiences. All the workshops for this day was interesting and I really enjoyed discussing for the outreach event. My key takeaway is that it is better to start planning outreach events early and work as a team to reach a bigger audience and make a long-lasting impact. I hope to work together with the other scholars and organize meaningful events. I am in the midst of planning few events for Singapore university students. Stay tuned!

Day 4- 1st September 2017:

Time had passed by so quickly and we were at our final day of training today. We had more time for team bonding activities. The sequence of activities was as follows:

Picture 8: Full team picture
Picture 9: Picture with the APAC recruiter
Picture 10: Picture with the APAC recruiter

Key takeaway:

The workshop on resume and interview was very useful especially since most of us were final year students and will be applying for full time positions. I learnt that it is important to constantly update your resume and practice for interviews both individually and as a team. The Seoul Searching activity was fun and a good time bonding activity. It gave a good opportunity to speak to the scholars and googlers from my team at a deeper level while walking to the different places. I was sad that it was our final day but I had the most amazing three days with a wonderful bunch of like-minded individuals.

Overall evaluation:

The entire program was very well organized and I am very thankful to the Women Techmakers team for all their effort put into this to make it an enjoyable experience for the scholars. This was an excellent opportunity to meet other scholars and learn about challenges in technology and how they overcame it. Thank you Google! #WomenTechmakers #Google #Seoul

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