The Story So Far: Prologue – GCL Edition

Jae Won Song

Jae Won Song

Staff Writer

A cold rush emerged as we left the plane. A new environment. A whole new world. A new journey. This adventure began months ago during the summer, when we chose classes for the upcoming fall semester. Because of the pandemic, too many questions popped up in our mind. “What will school life be like this year?… Will we begin in-person classes?… Will we be able to go abroad for our GCL?” Countless questions plagued our minds, as we did not have the reassurance of answers. These questions were continuously evolving as the months turned to weeks, and the weeks turned to days. In the middle of September, a consensus was reached. We were to go abroad for our GCL, and the options we had were two companies located in Mexico City, Mexico. We were ecstatic.

As Session A courses ended, our joy increased. Although we had classes in the beginning that we found quite tedious, we were stoked about the opportunity to travel. Surely, an opportunity like this is not always 100% feasible in this ever changing world; however, this was a risk that Thunderbird and my dear colleagues and I decided to take. 

Through our classes, I was able to meet the team that I would be working with. It includes Harrison Maxwell, Taylor Richards, Gabrielle Swindle, and Jae Won Song (that’s me, hehe). The other group consisted of Shatha Alfaifi, Alexander Nagel, Margaret Waddington, and Kaiqi Zhang. Both very diverse groups and all amazing individuals. We were ready to begin our excursion. 

Part 1: What I Packed/ Preliminary Research

First off for the GCL, it’s vital to keep in mind that it is NOT A VACATION. We are Thunderbirds here to do work for our respective corporations, and if there is additional free time, you are free to do as you please. As of now, we have been working pretty consistently from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and after that, the time is ours. Just some food for thought. Additionally, it is important to do all the prerequisites of the course before you take off in the plane (for example, visiting the health center, filling out various forms, etc.). From there, we start packing. As the self-proclaimed fashion expert, I did my due diligence of researching the various weather conditions of Mexico City and created an effective yet fashionable wardrobe.

The weather in Mexico City can be quite cold, ranging from an average of 50-80 degrees, so I personally believed that it was essential to pack quite a few sweaters and long sleeves as well as slacks/jeans and sweatpants. Also, remember to bring sets of professional attire as well, ranging from sweater vests, blazers, button ups, to other items.

Other essentials to bring to the GCL:

  • Passport
  • Devices such as laptops, tablets, speakers, headsets, and phones
  • Toothbrush + toothpaste
  • Hair ties + hair brushes
  • Cologne + deodorant
  • Writing utensils + Something to write on
  • Face masks
  • Chewing gum/snacks 
  • Backpacks/bags

Other tips and tricks to keep note of:

  • Get to know your team before the actual departure
  • Express strengths and weaknesses throughout the group
  • Establish roles
  • Research on phone plans (For our case, some of our phone lines work out of country for no extra charge)
  • Make plans before the trips in regards to sightseeing, foods to try, and so forth 
  • Look into pricing and set budgets for your new adventure
  • Make various awesome playlists. For example, I made musical playlists just for Mexico with names such as “Feelin Trappy Mexico EDT,” “Mom it was never a phase,” and “Love to 💔”
  • Be best friends with the best photographer in the group

Conclusion

This journey will forever impact you. This experience is something that is restarting after the pandemic, and we have been fortunate that we are able to resume the process of normalization. The Thunderbird staff has worked long and hard to make this course possible, and we would like to personally thank Professor Hunsacker and Professor Slocum for the ever growing support and help. This ongoing segment next month will go into our adventures in Mexico City as well as our experiences. 

“And to those I love, thanks for sticking by my side”

From left to right: Gabrielle Swindle, Harrison Maxwell, Jae Won Song, and Taylor Richards

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