5/16/19- Diplomacy, 3D Printed

Today, we all woke up a bit upset. It would be the final day of official visits in the Plus3 itinerary. However, some of this sadness was mitigated by the knowledge that tomorrow would be a fun free day at the beach, and that after that we could go home and see our family and friends. We met in the lobby around 9:40, and boarded the bus to head to the US Consulate in Busan, a visit that replaced SEBO MicroGear, who cancelled on us a few days back. Luckily, our talented guides and study abroad staff were able to schedule this replacement event. I was quite excited for it, because I’ve always been interested in politics and international relations. After a short mix up with addresses lengthened our trip by a few minutes, we arrived on the scene and were escorted into a seminar room where the Consul General was awaiting us. He told us about his background, and his history in foreign service, including diplomatic work in 5 countries. Then he told us about his day-to-day activities, which mostly include giving speeches and representing the US at diplomatic events. Finally, he gave a fairly detailed report on the complex conditions of Korean-Japanese relations and their effects on America. After checking our passports and going through metal detectors, he gave us a tour of his office area, which is the main part of the official consulate, and the smallest of any in the world. It was only slightly larger than the security room that preceded it, but interesting to see nonetheless. After a group picture, we boarded the bus towards Pusan National University, our other visit for the day. Shortly before arriving on campus, we pulled into a narrow alley where we got lunch at a restaurant popular with students at the school. We were served Dakgalbi, a delicious, spicy stir fry of vegetables, chicken, and rice cake raviolis, with rice and the Korean version of tortillas on the side. Personally, it was my favorite Korean food I’ve had thus far. We had a few minutes before our visit was to begin, so we walked to a convenience store and bought cherry ice cream cones, which were also fantastic. Finally, we got to PNU. It was a beautiful campus, and we were given the same kind of presentations you would expect at any college visit, including an overview of the school, prices, classes, and more. After watching a promotional video, we heard a lecture from a Japanese professor about the development and current condition of the North Korean regime. One interesting thing I learned from this was that since the government no longer has the resources to feed everyone, mini-capitalistic markets are slowly developing throughout the nation, allowed by bribing local officials with profits. This is just another shining example of why Communism will never be a successful national way of life. Next, we took a brief tour of campus where we saw many interesting things, including a large room in the School of Mechanical Engineering completely filled with various shapes and sizes of 3D printers, all hard at work on producing objects that I couldn’t begin to identify. After the tour concluded, we headed back for the hotel to finish up our group presentations and prepare for our free day of fun tomorrow. I truly can’t believe how fast this program has gone!

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