안녕하세요 to South Korea

Hello, my name is Kayla Santos. I’m a freshman in the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. I will be majoring in computer engineering with a possible minor in computer science. I’m from Northern Virginia or “outside D.C.” and I’ve lived there my entire life. My community in Virginia was fairly diverse and I heard about many interesting places and met a lot of interesting people. Also, my mom also traveled a lot for work and brought home souvenirs from all over the world. As a child hearing about China, Russia, Vietnam, South Korea along with dozens more, I knew that I had to see all of them for myself. I no longer want to hear stories second hand and instead I want to make these memories for myself.

Graduation in 2018

In my life, I have traveled all over North America and Italy, but I have not seen the majority of the world. I have also been learning Korean in my free time because I find the language extremely interesting. So when I heard about the Plus3 program, I knew I had to apply. In my application, I wrote about my love of languages and how I wanted to experience more of what the world had to offer. After I heard I was accepted, I was so excited to go to Korea and started preparing immediately. I learned about its culture and grew more excited about trying some new foods, and meet new people. Also, since I’ve been learning the language, hopefully there will be some opportunities where I can put my newfound knowledge to the test. There’s so much of the world that I haven’t seen yet; but I’m hoping with this trip to Korea, my world becomes a little more interesting and different.

Korea is known for its amazing technology and speed of innovation. That reputation is reflected in the topic for the Plus3 trip. It’s based on “smart systems” which is a catch-all term to describe systems that use sensors to receive output and use that information to perform certain tasks. These are extremely complicated systems that have use in every aspect of manufacturing and life. In my own home, the “internet of things” is already prevalent. We have thermostats and door bells that rely on apps and cameras as well as many other inputs that make the entire system work. Through this trip, I will be exposed to another aspect of computer engineering. Also, who knows? I may fall in love with smart systems and want to work on them for the rest of my life. This trip could mean the start of a path I want to work towards.

With this trip to Korea, I hope to learn about some new technologies as well as try a lot of experiences. The only things left to do is to finish my freshman year well and survive days of travel, but that is no obstacle to my excitement! I can’t wait to make some new memories in a country on the other side of the world!

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