Around this time last year, I received the best news… that I would become an exchange student in France for one year! I was overwhelmed with excitement and I worked so hard to prepare up to my date of departure by learning the language, getting familiar with the culture, etc. But the day I was about to leave, I couldn’t help but wonder if what I did was enough. And what about my family and friends, how am I going to survive one year without them?! That international flight from the USA to France was the most stressful 18 hours of my life but I knew as soon as I arrived, everything would be fine.
I can thank technology for that! Everyday I am able to translate a phrase from English to French, Skype with my exchange friends around the world, call my family in the US, or write up a blog post, all with a touch of a button! I feel that technology is definitely a major tool to use when traveling abroad and I’m so grateful that I am able to use it to my benefit.
I asked my Dad to co-write on my blog with his view of technology when traveling because he also did some study abroad when he was about my age.
My Rotary Exchange Experience
When Amanda told me that she wanted to be an exchange student, I was excited and surprised. Most people know that my experience with Rotary is unique but that’s another story. Amanda has been writing about her experience in France and when she asked me to write something for her blog I was intrigued. What would I write about since I was the one not having the experience in France? On second thought, I was having an experience that I did not think about.
I have been to Europe when I was in college and it was a great experience. It was also over 25 years ago. How the times have changed. When I was in Europe we did not have cell phones or internet. We sent letters or postcards home mentioning what we had been doing. Now with technology, we are able to communicate at a moments notice. What’s App, Facebook and Instagram have changed the world and how we tell our stories today.
Communication has become three dimensional with technology. When I communicated with my family it was a ‘send and receive’ process in a simple manner. Now we send and receive videos to give us the perception that we are together. It’s almost like a Star Trek show where we are teleported right next to the person.
It has been about four months since Amanda has left for France, but it feels like she just left yesterday thanks to technology and communication at a push of a button. I am thankful for technology that has allowed me to keep in contact with her each day even though 4,000 miles separates us. I look forward to the next five months of viewing Amanda’s experience through her eyes. Thank you Amanda for being a great kid. I hope our weekly chats help you achieve what you want from your exchange experience and help you become the person you want to be.