Final Reflection- Looking Back on Plus3 Korea

Right now, as I write this, I’m 35,000 feet in the air, just entering US airspace for the first time in two weeks. Looking back at the Plus3 experience from a bird’s eye view, one thing is overwhelmingly clear: how much I’ve learned about myself as a person, a student, and a global citizen. This learning covers a wide variety of topics, and I’ll cover a few examples in this brief reflection. One area of concern we touched on quite a bit was business ethics and how they’re affected by culture. Ethics is a complex topic to begin with, and it was quite interesting to see and hear about how standards of proper ethics vary across the globe from managers employing workers from many cultural backgrounds. It seems to be that the US falls on the upper end of the ethical spectrum (believe it or not), simply because many other countries believe in “every man for himself,” that if you can pull one over on someone else, more power to you. This also leads into the social environment of business abroad as a whole: if you are trying to work with international people, you have to come armed with a culturally aware point-of-view. One of the main differences between Korean and American professional culture is that in Korea, complete subordination to superiors in expected. You’re not supposed to speak to your boss unless spoken to, and you certainly don’t leave the office while your boss is still hard at work, even if your shift is over. Another interesting part of Plus3 was simply the wide breadth of topics that we covered in such a short amount of time. In less than two weeks, we learned about topics spanning from AI development to shipbuilding, and from Seoul’s economic development to Korea-Japan relations. Another thing that was made very clear to me by this trip is that we never stop learning. I thought that I knew quite a bit about the world going into this, but I had a learning experience that broadened my global perspective every single day, and I watched Koreans learn from us by asking us about our culture as well. This is the kind of exchange that makes humanity better off in the long run. We can never be strong allies if we don’t understand one another. Finally, in my opinion the most important skill I developed on this trip was strength in working in multi-disciplinary teams. I was thrown into a group with students, most of whom I never met before, and three of whom were from the engineering school. You really don’t realize the degree to which various majors become wired differently until you work alongside them. These differences made us stronger, as we attacked our final presentation from different angles and varying strengths and weaknesses that made the finished project much more interesting. For example, engineers created and edited the video, laid out the slideshow, and focused on more technical aspects, while we could write content and focus on making our product sound appealing to potential investors. This part of the experience certainly made me better-off for the future, as some of the biggest companies in the world are made up of a genius engineer creating a product that a savvy businessperson finds a way to make profitable.  Who knows, maybe one of the engineers that I’ve met on this trip and I will even go into business one day. If so, that will be the icing on the cake of all the personal, educational, and professional benefits I’ve gotten from my experience abroad. Thank you Plus3 and thank you Korea for all you’ve done for me, I’ll certainly never forget you! Also, thanks you for reading my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have!

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