An Unexpected Friend

Over winter break I had the privilege of traveling to visit my sister who is living in Taiwan. Previously, I hadn’t been able to travel very much, but when I got this opportunity I was very excited. Experiencing Taiwan was so cool for me with different language, food, culture, and way of life. Having so many friends from school that were international and even Taiwanese made the experience especially cool. It really opened my eyes to the size of the world and how lucky I am to be at Penn where I have so many people living down the hall from me with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

After being in Taipei for three days, my sister and I decided to take a trip to Okinawa, Japan. With only an hour and a half flight, we were there very quickly. We went through customs and proceeded to find our way around the small island. Speaking no Japanese made it difficult at times, but my sister and I managed. We took tours through the island, went to local restaurants (as long as they had a picture menu), and relaxed on the beach. On the last day, we decided to take a ferry to an even smaller island, inhabited by less than seven hundred people called Tokashiki. This island was truly paradise with turquoise water and large white sandy beaches. As we got to the beach it was only my sister and me. This was paradise. Then, after about an hour, two more people came onto the beach. I looked at them and couldn’t believe it. It was one of my hall mates from freshman year at Penn. It was truly amazing to me that I could literally be around the world on a small deserted beach island in the middle of the East China Sea, yet still see a friend from Penn. It really showed me how lucky I was to be connected to a place like Penn. It’s truly an international place with amazing connections around the world. 

-Jack C. '17