Thursday, June 16, 2016

Final Reflections

The U of L UFHRD 2016 Conference and trip to England has come to an end. As we all acclimate to time zones, work, recovering from our shared respiratory ick, and settling back into our everyday routines, I thought it fitting to look back on our journey (#gettingterrieyed).

Before the trip, I read a timely quote that I thought would be useful to employ for the trip and class: "Expectations are premeditated resentments," unknown author.  So, I went into the trip trying to stay open to the experience, stay curious to what would be presented, and be present as the experience unfolds.  Having said that, I did remain hopeful for a few things, if the opportunities presented themselves: to learn as much as I could in the process, gain a better understanding of what it will take for me to work internationally, be of service to the group, and develop further discernment for where I need to focus after the graduate program is complete. Each of those goals were met with many more bonuses and unexpected outcomes!

9 people, 9 personalities, 9 different backgrounds, experiences, understandings, approaches, viewpoints, and opinions. It could have been a disaster, but instead, we not only became a team (#pinkiesout), but we became a team of leaders: assisting, supporting, influencing, guiding, modeling, caring for, stepping up, stepping back, and sharing plenty of laughter (#douglife, #wherescarlos) with one another. We learned not only about each other, but also each individual learned more about themselves. We went in as 9 strangers and left as 9 friends from having shared moments, memories, and accomplishments together. Learning, development, leadership, and organizational citizenship--fitting for a group of Human Resource and Organizational Development (HROD) graduate students--as well as representation for the University of Louisville took place... by the way, the British pronounce it, "Haech" ROD, not "aech". There were at least 5 presentations given on cutting edge research from U of L HROD faculty and 7 U of L students making international connections. #teamworkmakesthedreamwork

We continuously discussed globalization. The world is getting smaller via technology and travel opportunities (such as ours), but there is still so very much to learn of one another so that we can seek to understand and learn to accept. We met many people from all over the world (Portugal, Saudi Arabia, England, Spain, South Africa, Greece, and Korea to name a few) and made friends along the way. The opportunity for global networking, learning, and professional connection was amazing. Along the way, we were touched by people asking us about and showing compassion for issues that were taking place in the USA while we were abroad (US Presidential candidates, the death of Muhammad Ali, the death of 49 and 53 wounded in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shootings, the sentencing of Brock Turner).

Author, Mark Nepo says that, "Today, being a global citizen requires the courage to stay truthful about our existence and the courage to be touched and shaped by the faces of humanity we meet and help along the way." I think we did just that!

In Peace,
Katie Ryan Fotiadis

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