We recently had the opportunity to travel to America, after receiving the Student Design Competition reward funds. Our excitement levels were through the roof. We left for America on the 6th of July. Our flight stopped in Dubai for 8 hours and then proceeded to New York. We arrived at 8:30 am on the 7th of July after a very long 14-hour flight. We took the subway to New York City from JFK airport and climbed the stairs to the ground level of New York City. We were amazed and overwhelmed by the tall buildings, as we made our way to the hotel, where we stayed for 2 nights. There was a lot to see in New York, we walked until our feet hurt, in a bid to see all the famous landmarks in the beautiful city.
We had the opportunity to see the statue of Liberty, the new World Trade Centre, Central Park, Times Square, The Golden Charging Bull, Wall Street and Broadway Avenue, visited the 9/11 memorial. We walked past the Brooklyn Bridge and visited the Pentagon, the Pentagon City Mall and touched the White House’s fence. We saw the Washington memorial statue and where the Lincoln memorial is situated. Those were all very exciting and memorable times that we will forever cherish all this, thanks to being a Belgium Campus student.
During the time spent at the conference, we certainly learned a lot and had our minds open to a whole new world of technology. We gained some skills and knowledge on certain aspects:
· How to develop for everyone and not just the able-bodied.
· We learnt that those that are less able still need a lot of help from other people, especially those who are willing to help.
· How easy it is to take small things for granted, so we should keep this in mind
· How we should first do research on what the disabled user or any other user, find out what they need from us and how we can build the trust of the client throughout the development of the product.
· We learnt how to network with other people, it seemed very difficult from the get-go, but in the end, we ended up making new connections and friends as well as people we may cross paths again in the future.
· We also learnt that you should carry over knowledge to other people even if it doesn’t seem important.
We would like to thank everyone who made this trip possible:
· The Belgium Campus
· The RESNA Student Design Competition
· RERC-ACC at PennState University
· The great project team from America
· Our project advisors David McNaughton and Godfrey Nazareth