As an international student whose home is quite far away from Philadelphia, I always find myself on multiple plans every holiday to go see my family. Every one of my trips requires a passage through Europe, mostly Paris or London, since there is no direct flight to my home country. I do not always go back home but sometime decide to go to Canada or somewhere in the States when the vacation is short. Regardless of where I go, I always have Penn people with me on the planes. Sometimes multiple ones but always one person at minimum. I have learned some things and met some interspersing people on these flights, and I always see Penn people in the most random places.
Sometimes I won’t see a person for a whole semester and then see them in Paris’ airport: last winter break I was getting in the subway that takes you from one terminal to the other when I see one of my hall mates and learn that she same to France to visit some relatives. Another time I met a friend in Philly’s airport, we weren’t going to the same place but he told me something interesting: he is allergic to peanut and he always has to tell the crew before going on a plane because they are not allowed to offer nuts when he is on the flight and he was once flying to China when the crew cleared the three whole front row to make him sit alone while his family where pushed back. The other day I was walking to my apartment when someone walking behind me asks me if I ever go to Paris because he always sees me on the plane and downtown Philly. Pierre and I are now friends. I was also once in Montreal visiting friends when I see a Penn person, that I knew, walking beside us on the streets.
These experiences made me realize how much I love being a part of the Penn community that I now consider to be my home. Every time I see someone away from campus, whether I know them or not, it makes me feel like I have someone who would help me if I ever have a problem and gives me a sense of comfort.