Headed Home

I am currently sitting in the airport in Zurich. Our flight from Ljubljana was short and easy. The late nights and early mornings of the past week are settling in. Despite the clear exhaustion, I am sitting here looking back on the incredible past 10 days.

This was my first international trip. I didn’t come into it with many expectations, but the whole experience exceeded my wildest dreams. I have always been so eager to experience other parts of the world and I can wholeheartedly say that this trip has sparked a desire to travel and learn more. In just 10 short days I was able to travel to 4 cities, try new food, visit with local and global companies, site see and most importantly spend time with an amazing group of individuals.

I will always cherish the friendships that I formed and the ones that I strengthened. There is nothing better than traveling the world with your best friends and I hope to continue to do this in the future. I am so grateful to everyone who helped me make this opportunity happen. John told us that we would come home changed people. I completely believe that I have changed and I am excited to see how I will utilize the lessons I have learned on this trip when I return home.

Koree Case

A Day in Bled

There is no better way to end the best nine day trip of your life than to visit the most picturesque site in the country. Today we went to Bled. In the last few months when relatives and friends found out about my study abroad trip they immediately questioned where Slovenia is located. A quick google search returned the most beautiful pictures of Slovenia, most of which happened to be the church on the island on Bled Lake. Many of my friends and family (and myself too) had associated my trip with these pictures. It was the most incredible way to spend our final few hours in Slovenia. We hiked up to the castle, roamed the city shops, took a boat over to the island and ended the evening with a fabulous dinner. The best part of the day was our toasts at dinner. Hearing everyone speak of how the trip had enriched their lives and how lucky they felt to have met everyone in the room made me a little teary eyed. It isn’t often that you travel to a new country with a group of strangers and leave with some of your best friends. Bled was the perfect last day to wrap up a perfect first trip abroad.

Koree Case

Art and Business

Today we visited The University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Economics. This is the equivalent to our School of Business at KU. It was neat to walk through another school and compare it to Capitol Federal Hall. One of my favorite comparisons was the presence of artwork in a business focused learning environment. During our first semester of the Business Leadership Program we were tasked with choosing a piece of artwork in CapFed that we felt represented our leadership style. During our tour today, I settled on a piece that I felt encompassed my leadership style.

The attached work of art represents my leadership style in several ways. The first is the use of only two colors, black and white. I feel that this stark contrast embodies my ability to distinguish between two contrasting ideas or viewpoints, or my ability to categorize things into defined entities. I interpreted the brightest white area at the top center of the canvas to be myself. Diagonal lines reach out to other white spaces, passing through dark areas before reaching other lighter areas. I feel that this relates to how I delegate tasks to other individuals. I sometimes struggle to pass on responsibilities to to others. This is shown by the differing distances the lines travel before reaching other white areas. Despite my weakness in delegating, I love to collaborate. The lines between white spaces can also be interpreted as a sense of back and forth collaboration between individuals. Overall, this piece of art was both aesthetically beautiful and representative of my leadership style.

Koree CaseIMG_6192.JPG

Yesterday we visited ABC Accelerator. This company works closely with startups to help them in their pursuits of obtaining investments and sustaining their success in the market. I walked into the meeting space, a room filled with benches made of wooden pallets and colorful pillows, and was immediately intrigued to hear about their company culture. The whole experience paralleled a previous part of my life.

The parallel was seen in ABC’s work environment. I was lucky enough to be involved in an alternative, career focused program during my senior year of high school. This allowed me to spend each afternoon in a different facility working closely with students from different schools on professional projects for Kansas City clients. The building we were in was driven by the need for collaboration across strands of study. The work spaces were open and all the furniture fostered the chance for teamwork. ABC’s “Jungle” reminded me of this environment. They had around 15 startups working in a large room. There were whiteboards with scribbled notes and drawings all around. The bright colors and relaxed vibe seemed to bring a overwhelming sense of creativity to the space. After experiencing this type of working environment myself, I can easily say that it is an amazing way to utilize the expertise and knowledge of diverse individuals to enhance the end project. I hope that whatever career I end up in embraces this culture.

Overall, it was interesting to see how things come full circle. A year ago, as a high school senior who’s focus was in graphic design, I would never have imagined that over the course of 15 months I would settle into a business major and have the opportunity to study abroad in Slovenia. I’m grateful for all the things I have been able to do this past year and I can’t wait to see how the next three years mold me into the individual and professional I hope to become.

Koree Case

The Best Way to See the City

When given a full free day in Piran, we decided there was no better way to spend it than to experience the city the way the locals do. We woke up early to get to the bike rental shop. Meredith and I rented our bikes and headed towards Croatia. The ride was absolutely beautiful. We rode along the coast and listened to the waves crash against the rocks. Pit stops were a necessity to take in view of the ocean. There were several narrow roads where we would have a squeeze by cars and other bikers. These were nerve racking moments. We made it to the national park almost halfway to Croatia and decided to turn around and head past Portoroz to Piran. It wasn’t until we reached Piran that we realized we had been riding for nearly two hours. Overall, I did much better riding the bike than I imagined (except for the moment I ran into a tree). I now fully understand way the locals love to bike everywhere. In fact, I am considering getting a bike for myself at home. The experience was completely worth it, even after realizing how sore we were.

Koree Case

European Coffee

My first year of college gave me a great appreciation for coffee. It is very rare that I didn’t have at least two cups a day. I quickly became dependent of coffee straight out of bed and then again in the afternoon. Coming to Slovenia I learned that my coffee habits did did not fit in very well here. The first morning I went to breakfast I was surprised to see the small cups sitting by the coffee maker. I quickly thought about the size of my typical coffee mug. I would have had to drink almost 4 cups here to have my normal morning intake. Throughout the week I have tried to limit my dependency on coffee. Despite early mornings, I have survived on one small cup of coffee each morning. It should be interesting to see if/how I transition back to more coffee when I get home to the states. Until then, I’m way to busy taking in the beautiful scenery and sites to worry about more coffee.

Koree Case

A day in Piran

We made it to Piran! It is beautiful here. As soon as we stepped off the bus I felt like I was walking into a movie set. The color building facades against the endless water is a breathtaking scene. It is fascinating that you can look to your left and see Croatia and then right to Italy. On top of the picturesque views, the food here is phenomenal. I was very adventurous and tried sardines at lunch. Overall, it was a perfect day here in Slovenia. Can’t wait to head to Venice tomorrow.

Koree Case