Medium Response #5: Study Abroad & Traveling
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Take your picture & put the phone away.

Since the age of 16, I have had the opportunity to travel through 11 countries. I never studied abroad just because I knew that I plan on dedicating the first few years after graduating living abroad, but I do believe that studying abroad has enhanced the minds and the outlook on life that my friends share.

In regards to social media and technology use while abroad, I do believe it has ruined the romance of travel and the way we interact while traveling. I want to point out two things. 1) There is a difference between using social media to connect with your friends and family and using it to brag about your very priveleged experience. 2) The way you use social media to connect is very dependent on where in the world you are and who you are with. I wish I could write a book about this, because this topic does strike close to home. I have seen and traveled with people who might as well have watched a movie about the country they were in, because they were fixated on documenting and fixating the entire thing to look “super fun.”

We all have stories about how technology has provided convience to us while abroad or on the road, but in a time where travel is meant to help us unplus and enrich our life, has technology (meant to connect us) actually disconnected us from the true culture that we set out to encounter? In regards to snubbing, how many times have you sat by yourself somewhere abroad and pulled out the phone to talk to someone back home? We are much less likely to connect with other people while abroad because we are not initiating contact with others.

The most important and joyful part of being abroad is the organic connection that comes from truly being persent. Being with the locals and fellow travelers are a window into the culture. As travel is meant to connect us with the people of the culture we visit, technology often disconnects us, because we’re instead choosing to connect with home, rather than connecting with travelers, locals, and their culture.

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