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Students get first-hand insights into cutting-edge digital and media industries in Silicon Valley

Nottingham College learners explore world-renowned San Francisco Bay Area tech hub during two-week California trip, supported by the Turing Scheme.
Nottingham College learners explore world renowned San Franciso Bay Area tech hub during two-week California trip supported by the Turing Scheme.

Media and tech students from Nottingham College were treated to some remarkable insights into the industry during a two-week trip to San Francisco, which included taking in the sights of Northern California’s Silicon Valley region.

The visit, funded by a grant from the Turing Scheme, saw the group spend time learning about different sectors within the innovative high-tech industry, talking to industry professionals and getting a first-hand glimpse of some of the cutting-edge technologies being developed in the state’s Bay Area.

The region, which is home to the likes of Google, Instagram and Apple, is famous worldwide for its high concentration of digital and technology businesses and offered the creative media in journalism and marketing, game development, and IT students a unique perspective into many relevant career areas.

They had the opportunity to meet several tech experts during the visit, such as Bill Wang, an XR developer, who showcased new technology and inspired students with his dedication to shaping the future of tech, opening their eyes to the possibilities within the industry.

Students were also invited to KRON4, the Bay Area’s local news station, where they enjoyed a glimpse into the world of live television. This experience gave students invaluable insights into the workings of a news station and the transferable skills and knowledge that can be applied across various industries.

An amazing opportunity to learn new skills

Another stop in San Francisco was the Academy of Art University, where students met Michael Witzel, Director of Esports. The group had the opportunity to learn more about the challenges of esports and strategies to tackle them – a very beneficial experience, not only for students but also accompanying Nottingham staff, ahead of a new esports course starting at the college in September 2024.

As well as the insights into industries relevant to their studies, the students were also able to experience the culture and iconic sights of one of the United States’ great cities during their stay, alongside making new friends among the travelling group and their hosts.

“I got to visit interesting landmarks such as the Golden Gate bridge and Alcatraz,” said Level 3 IT student Gaige Bennett. “I also got to explore the city with the friends I made from our group, particularly those I shared a room with.

“I had opportunities to participate in group activities of differing topics, such as game design and architecture, with game design and esports being particularly interesting to me.

“While exploring the city, both with staff and my friends, I tried great food of different cultures, and I went shopping to stores not available in the UK. My trip to San Francisco was very enjoyable and I am very grateful to have been chosen.”

Access to HE: Media and Digital Technologies student Jorja Keeton said: “I had an amazing time in San Francisco with the friends I went with and the ones I met there. I really enjoyed learning about a new city, seeing its culture, and going to lots of cool places.”

“The trip gave me the chance to see and learn about different cultures in a country that is so similar to ours but at the same time, so different,” added Level 3 IT student Melissa Radford. “It was amazing to learn about its history, its arts and the people who live there and their stories.

“I have been given such an amazing opportunity to learn new skills, both social and practical, that I have brought home with me and implemented into my life. I am extremely grateful for the chance to meet people from other courses and make friends, as well as experience new things, that I could never have done in the UK, alongside amazing people.

“I also got to learn things which relate to my course and what I want to do as a career, for example, one of my favourite parts of the trip was getting a tour of Silicon Valley and seeing headquarters of some of the biggest tech industries in the world.”

Brilie Burrow, Access to HE: Media and Digital Technologies student, said: “Going to San Francisco was such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Having the chance to go and experience a new country, city and culture was something I’ll never forget. The experiences and friends I met, made the trip even better.”

“The experience has undoubtedly broadened our students’ horizons, shown them the dynamic nature of media and technology,” said Ismael Nobre, Digital Curriculum Manager at Nottingham College. “Contributions from experts not only educated but inspired students and they have returned with a newfound excitement and deeper understanding of the possibilities within the tech industry.”


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