My Pagoda Story – Rafael Andika, Cardiff Metropolitan University

My Pagoda Story – Rafael Andika, Cardiff Metropolitan University


In this #MyPagodaStory series, we’re featuring guest blogs from participants that completed our Christmas Special Programme. This is Pagoda participant Rafael Andika, from Cardiff Metropolitan University!

Keep reading to see how Rafael gained an understanding of Chinese culture, language, and traditions through meetings with a cultural mentor, and learned valuable digital competency and cultural fluency skills.

My name is Rafael Andika. I’m a second-year Sport Management student at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I’m originally from Indonesia, and I moved to Cardiff in September 2019. So far, it has been an amazing experience for me, despite what is currently happening. During this occasion, I’m going to take you through my time in completing the Pagoda Christmas Virtual programme.

So, I actually came across this programme through the university’s international team. I read all the details of the programme, the requirements, and did some research about the organisation. I thought it would be a great choice to enrol on the programme given the fact that it is going to be flexible and virtually delivered, and I didn’t have much to do during the Christmas break since I couldn’t go back home. In addition to that, I’ve been into self-development lately as I realise it’s paramount to grow as a person. This programme has provided me with that opportunity, and I thought it’s a win-win for me and Pagoda.

Inside the programme, I got access to four skills courses that I can decide which ones to complete. I’ve managed to complete two of them, which are the digital competency course and cultural fluency course. Personally, I found that the cultural course is very interesting because it gave me a different perspective about intercultural communication, how different cultures look around the world (especially in China, Mexico, and Vietnam), and the background theory of why certain things are happening in different countries. The additional resources such as Ted Talks have been really helpful and giving me extra ideas about cross-cultural life. Moreover, it has allowed me to talk about my own country’s culture and traditions which are quite relevant to most Asian countries, but totally different from the Western nations. I definitely can relate to most of the content provided on this course as I’m currently living the life of interacting with people who have different cultures, traditions and beliefs. So, I think it’s a massive thing to actually experience what’s being taught and put the advice of “adapting and changing your cultural glasses” into practice.

I also had the opportunity to have a call with a cultural mentor from China. From there, we shared our background stories, the traditions and culture in China, and also had the chance to learn a small bit of Mandarin. The main struggle that I experienced was definitely setting up a call schedule. The time difference between the UK and China is 8 hours, so we have to fit the call between our daily activities and commitments. Overall, it has been an enjoyable experience to meet new people from different countries.

The programme also offers pre-recorded events about self-development, industry workshops, and webinars from various sectors which has been very beneficial. One of the events that fascinated me was the fireside chat Q&A with a global sports brand, which is Hummel. It dove into how the company runs and adapts through challenges at this unprecedented time, as well as insights into their sustainable development as a brand. They shared what their challenges are as a minor sports brand compared to the bigger brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Puma in competing in the marketing sector of the products. It gave me a clear perception that the consumer is an important part of the business, hence knowing consumer profiles as well as adapting to consumer needs and demands will influence the growth of the business.

I’ve been into self-development lately as I realise it’s paramount to grow as a person. This programme has provided me with that opportunity.

To conclude, the Pagoda Christmas Virtual Programme experience has been amazing for me. I can gain access to a lot of courses and events which are useful for my personal growth. It has provided me with a chance to network with fellow students as well, which I think is very important for your career and wellbeing. I would definitely recommend any prospective students who would like to take the programme whenever it will become available. I believe there is no better investment other than investing your time for knowledge and skill development; you will need it in every step of your life.