My Pagoda Story – Marissa Kodikara, Cardiff University

My Pagoda Story – Marissa Kodikara, Cardiff University

Image of Christmas tree and ornamets

In this #MyPagodaStory series, we’re featuring guest blogs from participants that just completed our Christmas Special Programme. This is Pagoda Participant Marissa Kodikara, from Cardiff University.

Keep reading to see how Marissa attained a newfound appreciation for her own culture through meetings with a cultural mentor from China, all while gaining valuable employability and workplace skills!

Throughout taking this programme I really felt that I was able to develop my personal and professional skillset, which surprised me over such a short amount of time. I thoroughly enjoyed how flexible everything was, and I found the programme to be accessible, just on my laptop, and fun. To me, the whole Pagoda team were so welcoming and encouraging about expanding everyone’s skillset, and I felt so involved from the beginning even without in-person communication. I genuinely feel that this programme, even though only 3 weeks, has opened my mind and made me more curious about the business world overall, and interactions with other cultures. Therefore, I will definitely be doing my best to keep in touch with many of the Pagoda team and people on the programme, as they all have such unique experiences that I would love to learn more about.

Live and Recorded Sessions

I really liked having access to so many webinars and extra videos, as this provided such ease for understanding. All the videos I got around to watching were incredibly engaging, and I’d have to say my favourite was actually the live webinar on ‘Managing Across Cultures’ – probably because it was a live event, which meant I was able to communicate with other people on the programme and the Pagoda team themselves. This session taught me so many things I would have never known otherwise, and it definitely widened my horizon to how important it is to understand another culture in terms of the workplace and more. The other pre-recorded webinars were also so interesting, and I think they will definitely help me later on when applying for internships and jobs!

Skills Workshops

These were incredibly useful in adding to my skillsets, and the workshops themselves were really concise but also provided really great information and advice. I also really enjoyed that we were given a digital certificate upon completion, which tied together the end of the workshop so perfectly. In particular, I thought the LinkedIn workshop was very useful because even though I had a page before, I was not sure how to amend it so that employers would be satisfied. The webinar in this workshop broke down easy steps for me to follow, and I hope that soon my LinkedIn page will be appreciated by many, thanks to Pagoda.

I genuinely feel that this programme, even though only 3 weeks, has opened my mind and made me more curious about the business world overall, and interactions with other cultures.

The self-reflection aspect of the employability workshop proved very interesting to me. What I really liked about this was that it did not just scratch the surface but had multiple personality tests to take, and then went on to make me think further about what this meant for me individually and how it applies to a working situation. This was incredibly useful, especially as I am not certain of the job I would want, so being able to see where I would fit (alongside the other workshops, which indicated what I could do in situations) was really intriguing.

Cultural Mentor

This was potentially my favourite part of the whole programme as it was so different from anything I have experienced before and probably not something I will always have the chance to do. I really appreciated the time that I got to spend talking to 江 as not only was this extra interaction during the COVID19 pandemic really nice, but it was so interesting to learn more about his life and China in general. It was also great to talk about the UK, as questions were asked which made me think and actually appreciate parts of UK culture I did not really recognise before.