Hoya Paxa

From Detroit to Korea

I’d flown out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport plenty of times. Granted, those times it had been to get back home or make my way to DC. This time instead of a ticket stub for Reagan National, I held in my hand a pass for Incheon Airport, South Korea. So, when I was waiting for my zone to be called for Flight 159, I could definitely feel the butterflies dance in my stomach. The nerves were caused by more than just a fear of jet lag from the 14-hour flight. These nerves led to me challenge if I was even ready for this experience. What kind of culture shock would I face? Would I be able to handle a week abroad in a place I knew so little about? These were pressing questions for someone who had never even been to Asia. Frankly, growing up in the Midwest, the most exposure I’d had to Korean culture was at my town’s “Asian Express” take-out restaurant. Despite my apprehensions, it was too late for these second thoughts, as the push of the crowd had moved me to the boarding gate. Ready or not, I figured, I was Korea bound.

Now, picture a different boarding gate, this time in the Incheon Airport. As I was awaiting the flight that will take me back to America, I felt an emotion very different than the one I had experienced just a week prior. A week ago, I was nervous about what my time in Seoul would hold. Now, I was immensely grateful for the experiences I had witnessed. Sure, I was "unprepared" and couldn’t even say “hello” or “thank you” in Korean before I went to Seoul. But, thankfully readiness wasn’t a necessary quality for World Model United Nations (WorldMUN) 2015. What was a necessary qualities were an open mind and a desire to learn. 

Along with the help of the rest of the Georgetown team (one of whom mercifully spoke Korean), I was able to experience a wealth of adventures. From a trip to the demilitarized zone to bringing home a Diplomacy Award at the conference, it was a truly unforgettable time. I’ll always cherish these memories, but I also learned valuable life lessons. I learned how to push myself, break out of my comfort zone, and step past my fears. These lessons and experiences combined to create one of the most wonderful adventures of my life. I’d personally like to thank Georgetown University, the International Relations Club, and all other organizations that made WorldMUN possible. You truly did give 11 students the chance of a lifetime.

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