Cythia’s Living Together and Working Together Expirience
Cynthia: Living together, Working together
The concept of the ISA working together and living together has been an opportunity for me to find common ground with other fellows from different parts of the world – a true melting pot.
In our shared flat we are four fellows from Nigeria, Kenia, Jamaica, and Georgia. Although sharing a flat has the potential for challenges, it is usually nothing that can not be solved through dialogue and communication. In addition to that, I must point out that the positive experience and mutual benefits predominated.
The positive outcome for me personally was the chance to work and learn from each other. An example of a very productive collaboration with an ISA fellow has been with Pawan: like me, Pawan’s project contributes to the goal of No Hunger through improved agricultural systems. Pawan and I collaborated a lot because he comes from academia and I am from the business area of agriculture, so he gave me his insight on various projects. We also went to several conferences together.
Furthermore, the exchange of ideas between different fields proved to be valuable. For instance, Amelyn provided insightful input that enhanced my ISA project, particularly regarding gender perspectives. She encouraged me to consider various gender specificities as 85% of my target population is women. One other fellow I learned a lot from was Eliot, who is an Urban Planner from Zimbabwe. He helped me with Auto CAD, a computer-aided design program, which allows me now to be even more self-sufficient because I don’t have to rely on others to do it for me or pay extra staff for these design tasks. Regarding the living arrangements, it was such a relief and convenient to have the fellows living within reach. During work hours it’s hard to find time to meet up, so we would meet at home on the weekends and was able to teach me on his perfectly suitable computer, without further inconvenience. Besides all the business talk and learning journeys, the aspect of learning about each other’s cultures through occasional potlucks where we would cook food from our countries was a great way to get to know other parts of the world.
All in all, it has been very enriching to work and live together with all these talented people.