Wow, what an experience Belgium has been in just the past week! It is such an adjustment to a new culture, but I am learning to embrace everything the best possible way I can. I am definitely missing my friends from home terribly though.
With that said, I am having to keep in touch with my family and friends through many different types of online communities. I want to stay involved in my friends lives as best as possible while I'm away, and vice versa. Especially at this time in my life, I have never been so thankful for new technology and media! There are times when we feel technology is the worst communication ever; why can't we just talk face to face? While being abroad though, new social communities are my only lifeline to my relationships back home.
My knowledge of these new media is pretty large, I would like to think. I am not very familiar though with Twitter or video publishing. Twitter has always sounds quite stupid to me and it's not something worth getting myself addicted to. I am very involved with Skype, Facebook, and email though.
Through Facebook, I am thankfully able to keep in touch with my friends all around the world! I lived in the Cultural Exchange Community at Clemson, so when we all went our separate ways and back to our respective countries this December, we all vowed to keep in touch through Facebook. Also, we can share with each other pictures from our homes and upload pictures that we have together. Also with instant chat on Facebook, it definitely makes your friends feel not so far away from you. I am a huge Facebook supporter!
As for Skype, I could not love it anymore. I use Skype currently ALL THE TIME. It's the online community I use to keep in touch with my closest friends. Through Skype, I am able to talk to my parents whenever I want (you can make Skype phonecalls right to their cell phones--so cool!). Also, I have two very good friends in Australia that I can so easily keep up with through Skype video chat. What a genius invention by the Swedes!! Without Skype, I would be slightly depressed while studying abroad. My friends and family from all over the world are so important to me, and I can see their faces everyday because of Skype. Facebook can be slow and quite annoying at times, but Skype has never failed me! I am so thankful. It eases the pain of distance and separation.
Email is also a lifesaver. I am able to manage online bills, and keep in touch with Clemson. I am currently applying to be an RA in the Cultural Exchange Community for next year, but originally I thought I couldn't apply since I won't be there for the interview. But no fear, through email we will be able to communicate, and then set up a Skype date to talk! How incredible. I am keeping my connections at Clemson through email.
How did anyone ever survive without online communities?? :)