Alright, so currently I am back in the Americas, but this blog is meant to detail our adventures until the day of departure from Korea.

An inevitable part of this experience is its definite end. Yet, knowledge of the end is no substitute for dreading it. 

“5 days, 22 hrs until check-in,” that was the message being displayed on the Delta Airlines app when I started thinking about Blog #8. It was when I realized that it was not only my final days as an intern at CJ, but also my final week in Korea. For me, there were 4-main aspects to our exit:

  • Work: Exit Letters
    • My experience at CJ CheilJedang was a good one. In a broad sense, the experience helped me understand the practical tasks involved in working as an engineer. Specifically, I had a chance to learn to use material characterization machinery (UTM, Barrier Property Testers, FTIR spectroscopy, Heat Gradient tester) and to learn processes and techniques relevant to the packaging sciences. Beyond that, I had the opportunity to learn this is an international environment where I was the one in the language-minority. Nonetheless, at the end of the 70th day, it all funnels into one word: goodbye.
    • In my final week I delivered a live presentation to CJ as a whole about what I’d done while there, how it fit into the company’s goals, and why it was important, along with a few quips about my experience as a global intern. I wrote about my general recommendations to improve the program. Most noticeably for me, I wrote Exit Letters for my direct bosses and reset my computer as part of the process of reassigning its responsibility to the Department.
  • Cohort: Dr. Moser’s Workshops were done. So in our final week IRiKA meetups we reached out to each other independently when organizing it. I view that as significant as that might mean we will continue to be friends in the USA. I hope that to be the case.
  • Friends: from local to abroad
    • So while in Korea, I hung out with 한나 and 다현. I toured the DDP (where they host fashion shows), Naksan City Wall, Hongdae Street (a street known for university students, art, and non-stop activity), Seoul National University (Korea’s Harvard), and COEX (Asia’s largest underground shopping mall). & what really hits me is the fact that I’m not gonna be able to hang out with them for a while. Throughout my time in Korea, they were the ones who kept showing me what to do and finding stuff I hadn’t. & idk, I hope to see them again.
  • Country: ROK to USA
    • Coming back there are a lot things you notice: how our customs process is so much slower than Korea’s, how our transportation system makes driving a necessity, how we can choose to wear masks, how our infrastructure is so unkept in comparison, how much cheaper good housing is in the US (even now), how expensive our restaurants and deliveries are, how you can understand the language people talk in, etc.
    • I’ve already started scheduling interviews, ordering books, writing letters, planning for ANS, and organizing my semester. I’ve also kept studying Korean.  Point being that I enjoy the fact that during and after this experience I have been able to be continuously active.