Net Gains: Setting Up My Path from Friendships to Family

One Problem with uprooting your college life and moving into a completely foreign country is finding the feeling of belonging and family. For me, finding these feelings was mainly through finding familiar settings that I loved at Drexel. There were 2 extracurriculars that I loved the most at Drexel University, running student organization events, mainly through ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and previously SASE (Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers), and playing Intramural Volleyball.  As drastic of a difference between running events and playing IM Volleyball may seem, what kept them enticing for me was the aspect of finding a family through each of them. I found belonging through our strenuous event planning on the board of SASE and ASME, just as much as I found belonging while moving up the ladder of tournaments with my team during the IM Volleyball Leagues.  This may beg the question, what does this have to do with my SNU study abroad at all?

Setting my path to find friends at SNU started on day one before I even flew out of JFK Airport. As a business major, I love getting to know people and their stories, where they developed their mindsets, and what makes them who they are today. Going through the line at TSA, I met an intellectual individual who had an interesting phone pouch and commented on it being very convenient, especially for travel. This sparked a 1-hour conversation while waiting for our separate planes, where I took away many lessons. One of them is to ask insightful questions even when initiating small talk. Another takeaway that I will use in my day-to-day interactions and even in business planning would be to find a customer, and then offer a solution. In the same way, find people to interact with first, then determine whether there can be a friendship! Don’t let first impressions hinder you from getting to know people. Especially in a multicultural setting with incredible amounts of diversity, what’s normal for one culture can be completely abnormal for another, thus first impressions are simply not sufficient. It turns out, that the man I randomly decided to talk to was Ethan Mayers, a global venture architect and an author, and the conversation with him will be unforgettable.

Upon arriving at SNU, I had a couple of goals in mind, the simplest one: I wanted to play Volleyball. Luckily, someone in my SNU buddy group (Refer to my previous blog “Activities in Seoul Your Soul Wants, That Your Sole Wouldn’t” for more about SNU Buddy), Akilan [In blue shirt, bottom right of group photo], told me about a volleyball schedule at the dormitory gym. The Wednesday after, I decided to see what it was all about. Little to my knowledge, Wednesdays were training days, where there was a coach who ran us through drills, with the goal in mind of helping us improve without getting hurt. On day one, the vibes felt amazing, everyone on the team was welcoming and extremely diverse. The coach starts us off with stretches into warmups, where each participant counts in a language, they know other than English to hold our stretches to. Through this, I have unexpectedly experienced how people count from countries like Germany, Brazil, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Japan, and much more!

After Dinner Photo! (We are all stuffed from KBBQ)

Making sure to ask insightful questions and taking initial impressions with a grain of salt, I learned so much about the other volleyball players on my team, their backgrounds, and their interests. Every player respected each other and had great sportsmanship. Soon enough, I played volleyball 3 times a week, always inviting new friends and meeting more great people. After many intense games and moments of improvement, every team member became more and more like family. We would go out for food after volleyball practices, sometimes even Karaoke, regardless of the sweaty aftermath of an intense session. My volleyball position is Setter, but regardless of the many mistakes I made while playing, the picture below is the epitome of what a blooming friendship means to me.

Though I was not going to the volleyball court to practice for some upcoming competition, every time I went, I left happy, loving the sport, but more so my teammates. If I could recommend something to any future SNU Exchange student, it would be to join a recreational sports group, there you will find a community that strives for one goal, getting better together. Ultimately, from all of these interactions, there was a net positive gain: A family around the world, with a bonus of honing my skills in volleyball!

Bonus! Korean words of the week:

배구 (Bae Gu) = Volleyball

좋아해요 (Joe Ah Hey Yo) = I like

저는 배구를 좋아해요 = I like Volleyball!

Typically, if you say 배구를 좋아해요 without the 저는 part, people will still understand

Source link
All Materials on this website/blog are only for Learning & Educational purposes. It is strictly recommended to buy the products from the original owner/publisher of these products. Our intention is not to infringe any copyright policy. If you are the copyright holder of any of the content uploaded on this site and don’t want it to be here. Instead of taking any other action, please contact us. Your complaint would be honored, and the highlighted content will be removed instantly.

Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link