Redefining Interdisciplinary with TGP


Sep 11, 2017

This past August, JingJing joined us in Japan for our Disaster Mitigation & Nuclear to Renewable Transitions program as one of our first-ever GREEN Advantage Scholars. Inspired by her motivation, knowledge-hungry drive, and curiosity, we knew that she was going to be an exceptional addition to our Fukushima program. Thrilled to have her as part our of GREEN Alumni community of more than 2,000 student leaders & young professonals around the world, we caught up with JingJing to chat more about her experience.  Read on to learn more about JingJing & her biggest takeaways from her experience abroad with us!

Meet JingJing Z.

Japan: Disaster Mitigation & Nuclear to Renewable Transitions
August 2017

University of Pennsylvania
Major: Systems Engineering
Age: 20
Hometown: Philadelphia PA 

cj7gm87e500i9pki5qkl0cqop img 20170804 163645

Why do you believe that The GREEN Program is right for you? I think now is the perfect time to travel the world before responsibilities and the corporate world come settle you down into a routine. Experiencing different ways of life and cultures makes your mind expand and your perspective of the world even bigger. And that experience is priceless. But more importantly, with the world becoming more connected than ever is the exchange of countless ideas. I think looking for better ways to coexist with our environment and find ways to develop clean energy should be a goal for every country that has these problems. So to see what Japan has been doing first-hand would be amazing and possibly groundbreaking if we could also use that technology for other disaster-prone or heavily polluted areas around the world.

What is a day in the life of JingJing like?

On a typical day on campus at UPenn, I try to keep up a healthy, regular schedule. Waking up with plenty of time to get to class, catching up with friends during my academic breaks, running errands, catching up on my favorite shows, studying for upcoming exams, or reading up on current events. Beyond that, you can likely find me exploring the city or baking! 

What inspired you to submit your application for The GREEN Program?

I knew that I really wanted to study abroad at some point during my undergraduate career. After experiencing a number of hurdles to study abroad due to my transcript at the time, I was thrilled to hear about The GREEN Program. With a focus on sustainability, I immediately filled out the application. I didn’t know what to expect; would I be accepted? But when I received my official congatulatory response of my acceptance,  I thought to myself, ‘wow this is real. I was going to Japan!’

When preparing for your TGP adventure, what were you most looking forward to?

I was most looking forward to meeting people from all over the world; I’ve always found that I learn and intake so much more from people who share their passions and stories with me than simply learning from a textbook. It’s truly fascinating and so inspiring! I’m so grateful to have had the chance to be so open with myself and others.

Tell us more about your GREEN experience! When you think back to Japan, what are some of the most memorable portions of your trip with us?

cj7gn5rhe00z75si5cbg56lsl 20626758 10155740808579575 5622850024904542184 o

The first thing that comes to mind are the opportunities for one-on-one or smaller group conversations about our passions – anything and everything . While I absolutely learned a lot from our classes at the university, what sticks out most to me was my ability ot connect with my fellow GREEN students in such a short amount of time. The GREEN Team was able to create an environment where we were all able to formulate a special bond that can’t be re-created and that I’ll never forget. Even though my group is from all across the United States and beyond, I know that this is something that I’ll cherish forever. 

Did you have a pivotal moment or an experience during your time in Japan that has altered or shifted the way you view the world around you?

I don’t think I had a singular pivotal moment, but it was moreso something that I experienced every day. The politeness and friendliness of everyone that we met – from our guides at various excursion sites, to my group members, and everyone else I met –  just made me a happier and more excited person overall during my time in Japan. Honestly, one element that has stuck with me, culturally, is the utmost respect that everyone was given despite being from other nations around the world. It’s definitely something I really miss, and am doing my best to implement now that I’m back home in Philadelphia (USA). 

How would you say that your experience on TGP has benefited you moving forward as you continue working toward completing your degree?

Although I’m not majoring in nuclear energy or environmental studies specifically, I believe that sustainability is an integral part of anyone’s career trajectory. I learned so much about clean energy and the process of rebuilding after natural disasters; I plan to use this knowledge and apply it to something I’m really passionate about: urban renewal in the parts of Philadelphia that need it the most.

Fast forward to graduation: you’re looking toward launching your career. What is your dream career, and has TGP had an impact on shaping this professional path? 

I have a few “dream careers” on my bucket list that I’d like to accomplish in my lifetime; one being working as an animator for Studio Ghibli. Again, I may not be the most knowledgeable on sustainability, but I strongly believe you can move forward in your career, while also thinking about the environment and how to prevent us from destroying it. It’s all interconnected, and we can all do our part.

Why do you believe that other like-minded students like yourself, and others around the world, should have opportunities like The GREEN Program? 

– Original Text & Images by: JingJing Z., and TGP

It’s important that students take advantage of opportunities while in school and before we’re a part of the real world, if possible. With the world being connected more now than ever, we need to immerse ourselves in uncomfortable situations and gain intercultural skills if we want to accomplish big worldwide goals together.

Experiencing different ways of life and cultures makes your mind expand and your perspective of the world even bigger. And that experience is priceless.

Read Another Article

Honoring Kate Slattery & Highlighting the Shine On Scholarship for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, The GREEN Program is happy to highlight Kate Slattery – a mechanical engineer and photovoltaic designer for SolarCity who challenged herself and others to work toward a global mission of renewable energy and sustainability. We are honored to work with Kate’s family and GivePower to share Kate’s story and provide the Shine On Scholarship to TGP students in memory of Kate. 

read more

How an Online Sustainability Program Helped Jaedyn Medrano Become an Intersectional Sustainability Advocate

This blog features the virtual Nepal Ethics of Sustainable Development Alum, Jaedyn Medrano who says, “this program taught me how to think about a project holistically, and it has guided me along the path to being a better cultured and inclusive young professional.” She is set to graduate with a double major in Renewable Natural Resources & Ecological Restorations in December of 2022.

read more

Defending Reproductive Rights in the Battle for Climate Justice

Reproductive Justice is Climate Justice. The GREEN Program stands to defend the reproductive rights of all women and people who give birth to access safe reproductive health care. We must do more to educate others and understand the interconnection between Reproductive Justice and the Climate Crisis. It’s important to draw the connections between climate change, pollution, and reproductive rights.

read more

An International Graduate Student Embraces Nepali Culture by Studying Abroad through Shine On Scholarship

On one hand, I believe that every student should be given a chance to study abroad at least once in their life, because it teaches us things that textbooks cannot: adaptability, resilience, curiosity, empathy, just to name a few. Whether good or bad, bursting our bubble and learning about our world will inspire us and open our minds. On the other hand, the people we interact with benefit from the diversity, because all of us bring unique perspectives to the table. Perhaps we share an idea that no one has thought of but could be key to solving a problem; we fuel the aspirations of someone who is facing similar difficulties; or help take down stereotypes.  

read more

Remembering Juneteenth and the Fight for Environmental Justice

n June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It is on this day every year since that we celebrate “Juneteenth” as the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that we celebrate ancestors and leaders who fought to be liberated. We celebrate their power, resiliency, and tenacity. 

read more

LGBTQ+ Leaders and Organizations in Sustainability to Know About this Pride Month

The GREEN Program loves to celebrate love, and there is no better way to do that this month than by recognizing a few LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations that are making a difference not just in their own communities but for our planet altogether. Read below to learn more about some people and spaces that are working together to promote a better world that focuses on inclusion and equality.

read more

Meet 8 AAPI Leaders in Sustainability: Across the Globe and At Home

The month of May is known to many as the end of classes and the start of Summer, but May is also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our team at TGP wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions and influence of AAPI Americans throughout history, culture, and achievements both on a global scale, and from those who are a bit close to home. We also encourage you to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and get involved through additional resources.

read more

From a Start Up to a Sustainability Study Abroad Program: How Patrick Applied his Passion for Renewable Energy in Iceland

When Fall 2021 rolled around and I saw the TGP scholarship opportunity, I thought I’d apply not expecting much. When I found out that I actually got it, I was like “I guess I’m actually doing this!”. I was a little nervous and anxious but also so excited for the opportunity! I was also grateful that the enrollment process was very smooth for me with no significant challenges along the way.

read more

Boston University Student Gains a Unique Perspective for Renewable Energy & Sustainability by Studying Abroad in Iceland

Global experiences have definitely shaped me into the person I am today through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. Getting to really know a great group of diverse individuals from all over the world has not only shaped my perspective on current world issues, but has also allowed me to take a glance at certain topics from another angle and point of view.

read more

A Construction Science Major Turns Lessons into Opportunity after a Sustainability Study Abroad Program 

AJ Ewing spent his past Winter Break a little bit differently than most students, by studying abroad on our GREEN Nepal program. As a Construction Science major, AJ notes that he was nervous coming into the study abroad program having no prior experience in sustainability or electrical/solar grids, but he was excited and eager to learn. As soon as he arrived, all his nerves were gone as he was welcomed by our team and ready to dive in. Now, he can honestly say that when he thinks of The GREEN Program, he thinks of “family away from home.”

read more

How a Geologist Made His Sustainability Dream in Iceland a Reality through a Study Abroad Scholarship

As someone who is in a field with a limited representation of ethnic minorities, TGP created a neutral ground where there was a range of diversity on different levels. My GREEN Program experience in Iceland wasn’t just about the adventures and cultural immersion, but about the education too. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures because I saw how passionate the different lecturers were about their work and research which is truly inspiring. As a geologist, learning more about the wonder that is Iceland in Iceland was definitely a dream come true.

read more

Get to Know GREENie: Maryam Aida Tidjani

Maryam Aida Tidjani got to experience a brand new kind of GREEN Program during the hard times the world was facing, a 100% Virtual and Online experience. Initially planning on traveling to Peru in 2021, the global pandemic continued to shift things around and we had to pivot all travel programs to Online experiences.

read more

Subscribe to The GREEN Program newsletter & updates

Skip to content