Khea Yashadhana is a 2012 IB graduate of the Binus International School Simprug in Indonesia, and she is now an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Having interned in both Indonesia and the United States, Khea talked with us about how these experiences have influenced her academic interests.
Tell us about your internship at Discovery Communications.
I worked as an Insights & Research intern with an incredible and vibrant team at the Discovery headquarters in the Washington, DC metro area. Some of my projects included consolidating multiple years of audience research into a comprehensive presentation and creating research snapshots of TV industry trends. This work was used to uncover shifting desires and behaviors that could impact Discovery’s different networks, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC.
I came out of the experience learning more than I could’ve ever imagined, met some of the most passionate, creative, and intelligent people, had heaps of fun, and would recommend the opportunity to any university student looking to apply.
How have your internship experiences influenced your academic career at the University of Wisconsin?
I’ve been really lucky to have spent all three summers since starting university interning at different places. I eventually ended up switching majors and adding a minor in digital studies pretty late in the game. I’m currently majoring in marketing and communication science & rhetorical studies. But this change was worth it, because it stemmed from working at jobs and internships and discovering what I liked. What I’m studying today allows me to combine my affinity for data and creativity, learn about human behavior, and examine critically the societal impacts of emerging technologies.
Do you have any advice for current IB students applying for university?
From narrowing down your shortlist of universities to writing the applications themselves, the university admissions process in its entirety is time-consuming, so definitely start early! I think it’s important to do as much research as possible not just about the academic programs at prospective universities, but also about their campus culture, core values, geographic location, athletics, volunteer opportunities, and scholarship offerings. What will often set them apart are the things you’ll experience outside of the classroom – so do some digging!
Since you attended an IB world school in Indonesia, but now go to university in the US, what advice do you have for prospective international students?
Transitioning from a graduating high school class of 85 in Indonesia to a public university of 40,000 in the U.S. was definitely a whirlwind, but a really exciting one. Because there are extra requirements that international students have to meet in the application process, starting early and spacing out tasks will go a long way and also give you enough time to balance your senior year IB course load.
Upon moving to my new home, the most comforting advice I got was to not feel pressured about diving into things immediately. Everyone eventually finds their rhythm and learns to adjust in different ways, but definitely remember to cherish your time abroad as much as you can. Raise your hand in class, get involved, build relationships, step out of the comfort zone, and lean into your experience.
Contributing author Kari Lorentson is writing about the experience of IB graduates at universities around the world. Lorentson studies at American University and previously attended Fishers High School. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.