Going Global: Adaptability in Action

International travel requires an ability and willingness to adapt to a change in plans at any given time. This challenge arose during departure from South Korea, wherein domestic flights were delayed for the returning Plus3 Program, creating inconveniences for all. Nonetheless, I loved my time exploring this nation in Southeast Asia. I grew both professionally and personally through immersing myself in a culture so vastly different than the Western world I have always called home. Yet with a summer job as a Pitt Pathfinder student tour guide at the University of Pittsburgh Office of Admissions and Financial Aid waiting, and many friends and family members excited to hear about my journey, I knew it was time to begin my return to the United States. The day began with a bus ride from Busan to Seoul, wherein I was able to soak in one last glance of the way of life in the Korean countryside. I was mesmerized by the mountainous landscape, reminded of how I had learned that indigenous spirits were thought to inhabit the Korean mountains, a belief later incorporated into Buddhism. I also was impressed by the hardworking people tending to the rice fields in this landscape, a staple crop in Korea that had once been harvested to pay taxes, and still serves as an ingredient in traditional and contemporary dishes alike. Whizzing past these sites, we soon arrived at Incheon International Airport to begin our voyage home via flight. In the airport terminal I had one last interaction with a Korean smart system, a robot named AIRSTAR designed to help travelers reach their departure gate. I appreciated the intention of this technology, which is to make lives easier while traveling, an engagement that can be chaotic and overwhelming. Flying to the U.S. was achieved seamlessly, but hitting the ground at Dallas International Airport began a race to return to Pittsburgh that required resourcefulness and patience. With most flights leaving Dallas being delayed due to heavy rain, my intended returning flight to Pittsburgh was halted by a day, jeopardizing crucial time to begin my summer job. By communicating my concerns with airline customer services, I was able to secure a spot on a flight to Pittsburgh that allowed me to return to campus on time. This day of travel was a time for reflection about my life changing study abroad experience, and also demonstrated the importance of adaptability when going global!

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