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Hello everyone! My name is Steven, and I am a data science student at Minerva - a fully-remote US university where students travel to a different country every semester. For the first year, we spend both semesters in San Francisco (the school is based there), and then from the second year onwards, we spend each semester in the following cities: 

  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Hyderabad, India
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • London, UK
  • Taipei, Taiwan

All our classes are conducted on Minerva's proprietary video conferencing platform called the "Forum", and instead of exams, we have assignments where we work with local companies, get to know the local culture, and write a report about our experience.

I'm very blessed and privileged to be able to have this kind of unique university experience, and I believe that it has played an integral part in shaping who I am as an individual as well as a professional. Given Minerva's strong focus on computer science courses, I learned how to code in Python and eventually branched out to other languages like JavaScript, which allowed me to build various impactful digital products.

For example, this summer, I built One Word Domains, which is a tool that allows you to browse through a list of all the available one-word domains out there. After a successful Product Hunt launch (got to #2!) and getting featured on the front page of Hacker News, I've received over 35,000 unique visitors and who bought 650+ domains from the site!

That's it about me! I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you here. And also, I've been doing remote work/study for over 4 years now and I love every second of it, so feel free to reach out to me for tips & tricks on how to navigate remote working!


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    Minerva seems very unorthodox for your average American student (I mean this positively 😂).

    If you don't mind me asking, what's the admittance process like - ex. for a prospective American candidate, do they require SAT scores, GPA, etc? Or is there a different process for entrance too?

    Also, where did you live when you were based in Seoul?

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      I definitely agree with you on the unorthodox part! We're unlike any other higher-ed institution in the US - for better or for worse (though I'd like to think that the good parts outweigh the bad 😝)

      Our admission process is - you guessed it - unorthodox as well! We don't take into account the SAT, but instead we put a lot of focus on achievements - if you've started your own business or if you've had leadership positions in high school, etc. Due to the fact that our application is free, we also have a very low acceptance rate - it's currently at 1.2%, I think.

      I lived in Yongsan-gu - it was a really nice and beautiful neighborhood at the foot of Namsan! Are you familiar with that part of Seoul?

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        Ha, that's really cool - I lived in Yongsan-gu, on the upper part around the base of Namsan (Haebangchon) for 6 years. I've heard from friends that neighborhood is ever trendier now.

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      Hey Steven,

      Great story! There are so many really cool aspects to it.

      1. Minerva: Sounds like a really smart way of growing your skills in accordance with what is needed in the "real" world. I think most would agree that education in college is often a little distant from the reality of what is needed. Love this approach.

      I just had a look at your LinkedIn profile - you would be in your 3rd or 4th year? So which cities did you already spend a semester at? Which was your favourite 😬?

      How is all of this affected by the epidemic?

       

      2. Coding: One of the best hard skills to gain. I have a big regret that I didn't pick it up early in my career. But yes, better late than ever 😜

       

      3. One word: Wow, congratulations! Topping in both PH and HN is really great. Clearly, that's got you some great traffic :).

      How has it been since - has the traffic decreased? Also, are you monetising this through affiliate income from godaddy, etc.?

       

      On the whole, great to have yet another smart, enterprising and experinced remote worker in The Remote Clan!

      P.S. Sorry for the many questions 😁

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        Hey Karthik! Thanks a lot for the detailed response! 

        To answer your questions:

        1. I am in my final year of college (4th year)! I've lived in SF, Seoul, Hyderabad, Berlin, and Buenos Aires so far, and my favorite has been Buenos Aires - if you can ignore the crazy inflation rates, everything about it, be it the weather, food, people, living costs, etc. is literally perfect! If you can, definitely visit BA or just LATAM as a whole at least once in your life! The epidemic has definitely made it much harder to travel/get visas for the cities we're going to, but since we were already an online school from the beginning, we didn't have the "Zoom-class-boredom" that most other college students had.

        2. Yes, I feel the same way too, but you're right, it's never too late to start! I'm literally an evangelist for coding now - I'm asking every young person I know to learn coding, and I even used a couple hundred bucks of earnings I got from One Word Domains to sponsor a hackathon in my former high school to inspire the younger generation there to pick up programming! :D

        3. Thanks a lot for the kind words! Traffic has been holding steady so far but I'm trying to figure out ways to increase it! As for monetization, I have 3 different ways so far - affiliate revenue, premium features, and registrar contracts!

        No worries about the questions at all, keep them coming! Feel free to also connect with me on Twitter and we can chat there as well!

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          Brilliant Steven. Loved the answers.

          1. I do plan to go to LATAM properly once in my life. Maybe take a proper sabbatical and do a trip for a few months. Let's see what life has planned for me though :P

          2. Really inspiring - kudos to you for taking such progressive and smart steps at a young age :)

          3. Congrats. Do keep sharing anything you figure out while growing One Word Domains. Also, if you need some help don't hesitate to reach out. I have been working on building my startup(s) for about 4 years now. We also have quite a few smart people here!

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            Thanks a lot, Karthik! Good luck with your endeavours and never hesitate to reach out to me for help as well! To the rest of you reading this - I'd love to get to know more about your startups so please, feel free to share them! :)

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              Cheers Steven :)

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        Very interesting, Steven.
        I think its truly amazing to spend each semester in a different country. As Karthik mentioned, it would be a great way to gain real-world skills. Also, I feel that these universities will nurture more students to take up remote working. I'm super excited to hear more about your travel stories!

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          I whole-heartedly agree! I think remote working is definitely here to stay and I'm glad I'm able to get exposure to this culture early on with Minerva's unorthodox but innovative pedagogy!