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Demola Student Ambassador: Allen's Demola Story

27 Jun 2022
by Nancy Lai

Yihang Jiang, or Allen as we call him in this story, was probably the youngest Demola participant taken part in an international online project. He participated in the last year's One for Humanity project called Next #MeToo (our most popular project all time application-wise, by the way!) and has been very active on the Demola China community. Allen is soon heading to Japan to start his university studies there, and is eager to spread the word of co-creation as a Demola ambassador while studying.



Q: Hi Allen! You were chosen to participate in "Next #MeToo" project as one of the youngest members, while this was one of the most popular projects in the year 2021. Were you confident that you would be admitted? 

Allen: I was not confident about the admission when I applied. I learnt from the Demola official website that the applicants are mostly college students, Master's or PhD students, not a word about high school students, so I knew it was not normal for a high school student to join Demola projects. But it also did not say no to high school students, so I tried my best on what I could do, and just finger crossed, I could be given a seat. I still felt quite a dream when I learned this team was one of the most competitive Demola projects in 2021, with only a 5% rate to get in! I am so lucky!

 

Q: You just did something right then. Can you share what you have done in the application? 

Allen: I carefully studied Demola Global's official website, as well as Demola Chinese social media, with a lot of FQA, alumni stories', tutorials on Bilibili ( A Chinese video platform) to share how to fill in the application form step by step. During the process of trying to understand what Demola is and what it can bring to me, the Demola values triggered my motivation to be involved in this project and access this great community: Diversity, Curiosity, Action, Communication, Imperfection. So I committed more time and energy to polish my application form, make my first English CV, etc. 

 

Q: So you were well-prepared for the application! How about the teamwork experience? How your project went on later? 

Allen: To be honest, I was not totally myself at the beginning of the Demola project. It was not my first time doing a project-based internship or group work with peers that were all senior to me. However, I felt pretty stressed when I discussed gender topics with an international and inter-disciplinary team ( Allen's teammates are all studying in different universities in China and Finland and with educational backgrounds). I worried that my opinions were not good enough, also I was not able to follow up with what the others were talking about. So I listened carefully, took notes, and when my teammates asked around: "who can help with proofreading this doc?" Or "who can help with the layout design?" I would volunteer and make a contribution to the team.  

In the second half of the project, when I got used to the pace of the work and learned more about the topic, Id to voice my own opinions. Sometimes, I would bravely hand up and tell them my input and reasoning when I disagreed with others' views. 

 

Q: What are your major takeaways from the Demola project experience? I wonder what was your motivation to apply Demola project besides being attracted by Demola's values? And after you complete your Demola journey, do you think it met your expectation? 

Allen: Well, I am a male, but I find it hard to understand when I see a lot of injustice against women or sexual minorities in society, and Demola's The next #Metoo movement provides a platform for me to discuss this topic with people from different cultures. Our report also points out what society would look like if there were more women legislators in the future. I think that social movements will continue, and where there is inequality. It's not over yet, and I hope that society will become more inclusive and that everyone will be able to live together in harmony.  

Our project "next #metoo project" was not an easy topic for me. Still, with the 8-week self-learning, active discussion, and knowledge sharing with teammates from different backgrounds, I think I would know how to discover or explore a social science subject further with more academic training in the future. In a nutshell, the Demola experience went beyond my expectations. It is totally free of charge, which makes me feel like a hidden gem that I would like to hold and show it off to all people who have not discovered its beauty! So later, I joined the Demola China Volunteer team as a student ambassador/community manager, helping the Chinese community to address their questions before the application and confusion during the project process. 

 

Q: So, as our student ambassador and community manager, in your eyes, what characteristics of our Demola community have in China? 

Allen: Our Chinese community has gathered top talents from different universities, including Chinese universities and oversea universities. The discussions and sharing in the WeChat ( the most crucial super-platform in China) Chatting room are usually meaningful, eye-opening and inspiring. Recently, I found that more and more high school students, even younger than me, are taking part in the Demola China community and actively engaged in future insights/trend discussions. 

 

Q: So, what is your future plan regarding Demola?  

Allen: Since I got an offer from Keio University in Japan (Top 10 Japanese universities) last month, I plan to apply for a Demola project this Fall which is co-created with Hokkaido University. Also, after 2-month project experience and 4-month of volunteer working experience, I have gained a more profound understanding of Demola's values and community. I really like this platform and opportunities it offers to us to be creative and open-minded. I would love to continue my Demola student ambassador identity in my university life in Japan. I am intended to select the "European ideas project" course at Keio University, which is an excellent opportunity for me to pitch the cooperation between Keio University and Demola Global. 

 

Contact Allen: jiangallenwork@163.com 

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