Going abroad with my SKai team — San Francisco explained — Ethan (14)

Acorn Aspirations
3 min readNov 21, 2018

“You can achieve anything you put your mind to.” Trip to San Francisco after winning the Teens In AI Accelerator.


We descended onto the steamy tarmac of San Francisco airport on a sunny afternoon on 11 th October 2018. Wearily we gathered our belongings and dragged our feet off the plane — it was the middle of the night for our bodies still operating on London time. We got an Uber taxi to the apartment, chose our rooms and unpacked. At last we could rest and eat!

Our London team was made up of Skai — winners of 2018 #TeensIn AI excelerator: Lowena, Daniella, Kieron and Ethan; the founders of Acorn Aspirations: Elena Sinel and Peter He; the photographer: Doville.

Next? Silicon Valley.

Our first full day in San Francisco, we went to Brighterion in Silicon Valley. We looked around the office building which had an amazing game room in it — you could even play basketball in it, as well as lots of other games. Next the CEO of Brighterion, Akli Adjaoute, took us to a Boulevard restaurant for meal of burgers and fries. He spoke about how the business rose from humble beginnings to being at the top of its game today.

The story was really inspiring because it shows you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

On our way back to the apartment, we stopped at a supermarket to buy food, so that we would have stuff to make for breakfast. After dinner I got an early night to catch up on much needed sleep.

Next day… pitching.

The next day we went to see the Golden Gate Bridge — it is one mile long and is famous for being one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. We were lucky enough to see a sea lion in the water near the port, where we bought souvenirs. I noticed that water was polluted by oil spillage from
the ships, but it still looked cleaner than the Thames.

During our trip, we went to Mastercard and pitched our AI idea to representatives. They thought our skin diagnosis app — Skai — was a very good idea.

GirlsInAI Global Hackathon

The next day, we were back at Brighterion to participate in an event — Girls in AI. Each member of Skai got to mentor a team consisting of young
school girls. This involved using our experience to help them come up with an idea and to design an AI prototype. We also guided them in preparing for their pitches in front of a panel at the end of the course. This mentoring experience was really good especially as the team I helped did very well.
We went back home and returned the next day for the results to see how the pitches went. Everyone did outstandingly well.

We then went to the Pear by Uber and went to another restaurant called the Fisherman’s Wharf. The food there was different from back in England but it was still great.

Final day

The next day we went to the beach to do an interview there about our stay in San Francisco. It was fun to be on the beach and to feel the heat of the sun at that high of a temperature again. We couldn’t stay for long as I had just caught a fever and the flu and had to return home to pack. Once we had finished packing we took an Uber again to the airport and left San Francisco in the mid-afternoon.

When I returned home jet lag had really hit and with the flu I really wanted to rest but now that I have recovered I can really say that I enjoyed being there in San Francisco.

Originally published at Acorn Aspirations.



Acorn Aspirations

Powering the Next Generation of Thought Leaders, Innovators and Technologists in #AI @teensinai #TeensInAI #GirlsinAI #MCStartup2016 Founder @elenasinel