Most international students have to take a flight, or even several flights, to reach their destination in the U.S. By the time we become seniors we are professionals at packing suitcases, navigating airports and making it through long flights. Very early in my undergraduate career I learned how unpredictable traveling can be, and got some lessons that have stuck with me every time I’ve traveled since.
One of the first big lessons about traveling that I have learned over the years is that I should always bring rolling luggage. Carrying handbags makes it so difficult and time-consuming to get around the airport. On top of that, I often lost time by mixing up terminals and going to the wrong place. Now I know to stay calm and even when someone working at the airport directs me to a place I should always double-check the airport signs.
However, even when you are careful, things that you don’t expect happen. Sitting on my first transatlantic flight, I learned that we would be arriving in New York a few hours late because of an additional engine check. A few hours of waiting should be fine, I thought, until it turned out that we had to wait an additional hour, which meant that I wouldn’t have enough time to catch the connecting flight that was taking me to my destination.
When my plane finally landed in the U.S., I ran through immigration and customs, baggage claim, and several terminals to reach my connecting flight, which was set to leave in thirty minutes.