Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall 2015 Seoul Fair

I'd worked for AIEF before taking a year long maternity leave to be a stay at home mother. Now that I am back working for AIEF, I had the opportunity to travel for them for the first time. I remembered a lot of the school representatives I used to be in contact with and was excited to meet them face to face. This was my first time traveling to South Korea, and I couldn't have been more thrilled to explore a new city, culture, and meet new people.

View of Seoul from the Oakwood Hotel

Arriving in Seoul was surreal. What a beautiful city! How fortunate we were to have the opportunity to host Education Fairs here twice a year! AIEF stays at the Oakwood Premier Hotel each visit to Seoul, and upon check-in, I knew right away why we chose Oakwood each time. My boss introduced me to some of the staff she recognized, and we were taken care of with immense hospitality. A lot of our schools chose to stay at the Oakwood as well and we did happen to run into some of them at the hotel before the day of the fairs.

Saturday came quickly and I learned firsthand how the fairs are run each season. Since it was my first time, my boss and coworker, led me through everything from the fine details of booth furniture to making sure the presentation sessions ran smoothly.
I was the designated photographer for the American Education Fair, and it was a pleasure to capture the event for the foundation. Walking around the fair and documenting the day gave me opportunities to visit with each school representative and each booth, all the while ensuring they were all taken care of. Watching each exhibitor engage and recruit students reminded me of why I loved working for AIEF. To see the process firsthand of our fairs giving U.S. schools a platform to give international students opportunities to study in the U.S. really warmed my heart.

The first day of the fair was coming to an end and best part of the trip soon arrived. KTF (Korea Trade Fairs), our partners in Seoul, treated us and our school representatives out to dinner. This gave us an opportunity to get to know our school representatives on a more personal level. What an honor it was to network with people from all over the country.

Another personal favorite of mine during this trip, was the opportunity to meet our interpreters, local students we hired to come to the fairs and translate for us and our representatives. They were such a delight to work with and put so much effort into helping our event be a success.

All in all, I can say that this trip was a success, not just for me personally but for AIEF and all of our schools.

By Frances Wu

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