I studied abroad for a short time in London during the summer of 2014. I went with one of my closest friends I met at USF and we also traveled to Paris, Germany, and Spain that summer. I do not regret this decision to go abroad at all, but I did miss my family and friends a lot. Luckily, I was able to stay connected with my family and friends by texting through this app, Viber, and made occasional phone calls when I could. It was hard communicating because of the time difference, but I contacted my mom and my best friend, Claudia, everyday. I do not believe that staying connected while abroad limited me from immersing with other cultures. I was not on my phone the whole time because I could only text whenever I had Wi-Fi, so this was a good opportunity to only take photos with my phone and to enjoy my surroundings with my friend. We definitely experienced the various cultures we came across by learning a little bit of the various languages, trying new foods, going on tours to explore the area, etc.
Technology can enhance traveling because it is a great way to stay connected with one’s family, friends, romantic partner, etc. abroad because it almost feels that the person is right there with you even though he or she isn’t. I constantly shared photos with people from back home on a daily basis whenever I was back in my dorm or hotel where I was able to get Wi-Fi.
Technology can also hinder traveling because it can easily distract someone to not pay attention to the surroundings around them and pay more attention to their cell phone. Both my friend and I did not have this problem abroad because we were mainly on our phones when we went back to our dorm or hotel where we were able to have Wi-Fi. It was important for me to learn the new cultures I was exploring and the study abroad office at USF gave me some tips before I left to make the most out of this experience since it will go by fast. Overall, I had an amazing time and was glad I used my technology smart since I was able to still learn about other cultures and appreciate these. I still to this day tell my boyfriend, family, and friends about my experience abroad and how it was definitely one of the best decisions I have made. I love exploring new cultures and traveling will definitely be something I see myself doing a lot in the future and am glad I am able to stay connected with the people closest to me and thanks technology, no matter where I am in the world I know with one simple text or a phone call that I can easily reach someone back home.