Reflection Blog

Wow. It has now been four days since we returned home despite United Airlines best effort to keep us traveling. I honestly thought that we would never make it to Kansas City. Our flight was cancelled in Washington then our connecting flight to MCI from Chicago was temporarily cancelled due to engine malfunction. It honestly felt like a joke. Fortunately, for me and many others, such a series of unfortunate events did not overshadow the incredible experience we had abroad! Now that I’ve had time to reflect on the trip, I can say it was the best decision I’ve made in quite some time. I decided that it was so great because of our amazing leaders, John and Amanda, and the group that we went with. I did not expect to meet so many great people in SELF, and become closer to my fellow BLPs that I’ve spent the whole year with! My favorite part of the trip was the weekend excursion to Portorož/Piran.

Now that I’m back in America, it is safe to say I’m having withdrawals. The four-course meals, the incredible scenery, the fascinating company visits; I loved it all. Next summer, I hope to find a group to study abroad for a longer term. I have the Europe bug!

-Wyatt Lewis Gaddy

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Day 10/11: Leaving Slovenia and Life stuck in an airport

Wow what a tough trip back home. We were suppose to only spend about 13 hours traveling back home, but we ended up taking 46. This was due to one flight being completely cancelled and the other one having leaky oil. So having to sleep an evening in the Dulles airport was a terrible and frightening ordeal. Hope I never have to experience that again…

Anyways, back to the main topic at hand. The Slovenia trip was the epic highlight of it all. I got to meet some amazing BLP people, got to witness several companies that were making innovative and creative changes, and see a whole new country and experience its culture and beauty. Overall I have no regrets for this trip.

My favorite business has got to be Pipistrel, for their amazing vision and ideas that transpired into global award winning planes and contracts with major countries.

My favorite experience has to be when we were watching the sunset in Piran. We got to see the orange beams of light glitter across the ocean and the picturesque building slowly darkening as it fades to darkness. Honestly, what a view.

My favorite (new) person has to be Emma, honestly I got to see a side of her that I haven’t seen before, her positive energy really makes any place exciting.

Worst Experience? Waiting for an airplane with a 14 hour “layover”

 

Thanks Everyone,

~Harrison Luo

What an end to an amazing trip

Well, the trip has come to an end and I’m kinda having some withdrawals from all of the amazing places we visited. I can honestly say I have never had more fun and learned more things abroad in my entire life. I would never trade anything for the time I had with the amazing people I travelled with and the time I spent in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. One thing, though, did try to ruin it for everyone. United Airlines successfully turned around 16 hours of travel back home, to around 48. I don’t think I have ever witnessed or been a part of such a series of unfortunate events. From cancelling a flight because of a storm that would end in just a couple hours later, to cancelling the last flight back home because of an oil leak. I, at one point, thought I would never make it back home and was planning on starting my new life in Chicago. They tried their best to make this terrible circumstance what we remembered from the trip, but it is nearly impossible to mask the more positive highlights that we had in Slovenia and Italy. I will never forget the amazing moments I had on this trip, thank you to everyone who made it one of the best times of my life!

Nasvidenje Slovenia

Here we are, a few days later, and I am now home and rested.  Traveling home from Slovenia was not an easy task–a canceled flight in Washington D.C. led to an additional string of travels including an Uber ride to another airport, two more rescheduled flights through Chicago, and about 14 additional hours of travel.  After nearly 40 hours of travel, a shower, and a nice 15 hour nap, I am feeling like a human again.

Reflecting on this study abroad experience and the opportunities we had throughout the trip, I can be nothing but thankful.  This trip is one I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and I have no doubt that I will be traveling back to Slovenia again.  I can’t stay away!  I hope that I can now tell others about this often forgotten country as a sort of ambassador.  I can now attest to the beautiful and unique historical aspects of the country, and I walk away with an increased understanding of global business.

I am so thankful for the opportunity we all had to travel to Europe, for John and Amanda and all of the work they did in planning this trip and coming back for a second time, and for Petra, our outstanding guide throughout the duration of our trip.  I am also thankful for the University of Kansas and the study abroad office for coordinating this trip.

When can I go back? Nasvidenje, Slovenia (for now)!

Kylie Personette

Goodbye Slovenia: A Sad Farewell

As the group made our way home, we ran into some serious travel troubles. It was all going smoothly up until we arrived to D.C. At this point, we ran into series of challenges ranging from delayed flights, to bad weather to cancelled flights, to airplane maintenance issues, to even spending the night on the floor of an airport.

While these experiences were not at all positive, it did give me an ample amount of time to reflect on the trip and realize what a life-changing experience I had just encountered.

While I had taken vacations before, this was the first trip that I had gone on that was centered around a learning experience. Instead of staying in some kind of resort, I was interacting with locals and gaining cultural and global diversity. It was definitely a shock at first, but I came to appreciate all of the different perspectives that the people around me had.

The other highlight from the trip was the connection that was developed within the group. I came into the trip with a few very close friends and was expecting to spend most of my time with them. However, the new environment naturally forced everyone to interact with each other and the impossible happened. BLP students and SELF engineers actually became incredible friends. If this isn’t proof of the magic powers of Slovenia, then I don’t know what is.

Overall, leaving this country was a very sad goodbye. It was rough having the highlight of my summer at the very beginning because I know it will all be downhill from here. However, I will think back during the summer and the rest of my life to all of the memories and friendships made in my new favorite foreign country.

Elan Sports

On the last full day in Slovenia, our group took a trip to Elan Sports. Personally, I had been anticipating this visit for the entire trip and was looking forward to seeing how this famously successful Slovenian business operated. I have always been a mountain sport enthusiast so Elan had an added appeal for me.

Upon arrival, I was initially impressed with the variety and quality of the skis they had in their display room. Elan continued to exceed my expectations when they discussed how many different business sectors they are involved in. They are not only making skis, but they are also involved with a variety of products ranging from yachts to wind energy. This shocked me and gave me a greater appreciation for the impact that this Slovenian company was having on the worldwide marketplace.

Another big takeaway that I had from the Elan tour was the company’s tradition in exports. I learned that they were founded in 1945 and that just seven years after their founding Elan was shipping ski’s to New York City. This set a massive trend for the company as it continued to expand. Elan is currently a company that relies on it’s exports for revenue and it was interesting that this had been a focus from the beginning.

Throughout the Elan tour, it became more and more apparent that the company was very reflective of the entire country of Slovenia. It had been associated with the region before Slovenia was even a country and had experienced the various political regimes and economic status endured by the region. Like Slovenia, which exports far more products than they import, Elan primarily focusses on international buyers. The Elan visit was incredibly interesting and lived up to all of my expectations.

See you later Slovenia!

After a tedious day and a half of traveling I’m finally back at home! I’m sad the trip is over, but super thankful for the experiences and friendships I’m returning to KU with. These 10 days have been some of the longest and most tiring days in my life, but also the most fun and impactful. I’ve learned a lot about future career opportunities and the fields I might be interested in from the company visits. I formed stronger relationships with the SELF fellows and made new ones with the BLP students who shared this experience with me. The best part is I had all of these experiences while exploring a beautiful country that I never would have found if not for this program! I’m very grateful to John, Amanda, and Petra for organizing this trip for us. Also, I want to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to have this experience. I am extremely interested in traveling internationally more now! I’m a little doubtful however that other destinations will meet my expectations after Slovenia set the bar so high. I will for sure be coming back to Slovenia in the future! So for now it’s see you later Slovenia, not goodbye!

Zach