Reflection – August 20, 2021: Ryoma

Final Entry

After a few days of sudden bouts of tiredness and random hunger pangs from jet lag (strangely, Ryoma’s actual sleep pattern adjusted quickly), Ryoma fully recovered from the jet lag and had the following thoughts.

Arrival back to America, at Atlanta [on Aug 11].


Despite being told to enjoy his stay by his cohort, his advisor, and Dr. Kim, Ryoma did not take enough time to savor what Korea has to offer as he was a bit preoccupied by his work. He had indeed visited Daejeon to scale its heights, visited Seoul’s palaces and museums to learn of Korea’s history, and visited Busan to see more of Korea’s urban vibrancy, but he still did not see the natural beauty of Jeju, nor did he immerse himself in Korea’s traditions in Jeonju. Ryoma still had things to do there, but cannot act on them for years- or whenever he decides to return, if ever. 


While he did not enjoy Korea as much as he could have, the intellectual journey Ryoma had in Korea was, of course, tremendously satisfying. Wanting to do work in visual SLAM, his training before his internship had him learning about convolutional neural networks, then toward the machine vision that allowed it. However, his work led to several unexpected but exciting detours into the inner workings of ROS, robotic simulation, and eventually shader coding. The twists and turns of his scientific exploration made Ryoma far more skilled in robotics. But more importantly, the sheer diversity of subjects he had to study taught him to learn how to learn.

Final Notes

While Ryoma did not quite get everything he wanted, he was nevertheless impressed by the country. As he already has formed experiences, developed skills, and built relationships in Seoul National University, he may attend graduate school- provided that he can overcome the funding problems that come with being in a foreign university. Ryoma may fulfill his vow to return.

Reflection – August 20, 2021: Elizabeth

I’ve been back in America for about a week and a half now. When I first landed in America, the weirdest thing for me was hearing and understanding all the conversations around me. 

Since then I have been spending all my time catching up with my friends and family, and re-adapting to life in America. Things from Korea that I miss already: people taking the pandemic seriously, public transportation, the food!, how close everything is, and how things are generally a bit cheaper there. Things I am happy to have back in America: my friends and family, more varieties of food, and cheese.

I got back just in time for both my mom’s and my good friend’s birthdays. Luckily, I thought of getting them presents while in Korea. From my friend and her family, I ate Filipino food. With my mom and my family, we went to get Indian food. I’d missed American pizza a lot so I ate that, and I bought myself a bunch of goat cheese. I went with my family to a Korean food place, but the food there wasn’t as good as food from Korea. I ordered cold buckwheat noodles there, and they added a lot of vinegar to it…

Figure: My family and I at a beach in Florida

All in all: I wish I was still in Korea! I miss the friends I made there, the beautiful mountains being in sight everywhere, the convenience of eating out every night, the convenience stores around every corner, the ability to travel easily and cheaply with public transportation, how clean and safe everything is there, and how polite everyone is!

I plan to return to Korea someday soon!