Leaving home was not as tough as expected – thanks to social media

 

 

Back when I was finishing up my high school, I had a tough decision to make. I did not know if I wanted to stay back in Costa Rica where I grew up or take up on the challenge of starting my college career in the U.S. Of course, the only thing holding me back was the fear of staying away from my friends and family for too long because I knew that every other aspect of a college student life would be exciting in the U.S. Finally, I decided that I wanted to immerse myself in a different culture and environment where the learning curve would be steeper and I would exit my comfort zone.

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Even before coming to Boston, social media enabled me to start meeting people at BC through facebook and to start getting to know the university and its culture more in depth. For example, just looking through the facebook page of Class of 2017, I was able to meet my roommate Elias who is also from Latin America and we thought that we could have more things in common to get along well. In fact, he continues to be my roommate today and we are moving together to New York next year to start our professional career. Meeting people even before getting to college was one of the great advantages of using social media, and it reflects how small the world has become with the internet. Learning about my major requirements, school culture, and even figuring out what clubs I might to be involved in once I started studying made me feel more comfortable with the idea of coming all the way to the U.S. to start a new life.

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A few months into college I realized that studying in a different country from where you grew up had never been as easy as it is right now. It is almost as if I had never left home. I can stay in touch with all my friends from high school through my Whatsapp groups and even see what they are up to through their stories on Snapchat. Even though our lives changed drastically when we went to college, we are able to share our stories on a daily basis and my classmate’s relationships remain as strong as they did four years ago when we graduated from high school.

In addition, my parents can also get in touch with Facetime at any time of the day. Looking back I realize that distance has not been an issue to nourish my personal relationships, and every time I go back home, it feels almost as if I never left thanks to the benefits of social media.

As a soccer fan since a very young age, I felt terrible that I would not be able to track my Costa Rican national team and my favorite soccer club. However, a couple of weeks into college, I started meeting plenty of Costa Ricans who were studying in other universities throughout Boston, and as part of our culture, they were all equally interested in watching the soccer games together. Soon enough, we started throwing out parties every time the national team was playing and we were able to stream those games on the TV thanks to the beauties of the digital world.

My first summer in college I stayed doing summer school, and it was through facebook how I realized that there was a colony of Costa Ricans watching the world cup games in different bar throughout the Boston Area. If it wasn’t for social media I hadn’t been able to watch our national team beat Uruguay and Italy, Greece and draw against England, in the World Cup of Brasil 2014 surrounded by lots of nice people whom I had just met through the community of social media. Simply because we shared two things in common: our nationality and passion for soccer.

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In conclusion, social media facilitates the life of a student moving far away from home, and it make the world smaller to the point where I feel that I never actually left home or disconnected form my relations. Apart from entertainment and news information, social media enables people to connect with each other on a daily basis regardless of how far apart they are. Thus, it becomes easier to be part of a larger community with people that have similar interests even if you are not in the same geographical location.

I am looking forward to learn how the tools of social media can be applied in the world of business. Just like I saw that the world is a small world through social media, many entrepreneurs discover how to reach out to a larger pool of customers through globalization and the internet. The markets abroad become more accessible with the online communication platforms, and I would like to see in this course how sales can be triggered when social media is used effectively.

 

4 comments

  1. Such a great post on how social media can make home feel much closer than ever before. On the flip side of the coin, in reading your blog post, I was reminded of my time with the Sea Education Association where I spent six weeks living and working on a sailing research vessel in the South Pacific. Throughout our entire sailing journey, we could not access wifi on the boat and, in effect, were cut off from the entire world — with the exception of the 30 other people aboard the ship. It was an incredible experience to be out to sea, with no digital distractions and the opportunity to get to know 30 people unlike ever before: without the mediation and constant interruption of technology. However, in line with your point, I found that during my most homesick moments, I yearned for wifi just to be able to see the face and hear the voice of an old friend or family member. In this digital age, maybe they will consider changing the saying “Home is where the heart is” to “Home is where the wifi is.”

  2. Nice post. I’ve actually had some discussion with the study abroad office to try and determine if social media is a good or bad thing for study abroad experiences. My conclusion is that it’s a little bit of each.

  3. I really liked reading your really positive opinions on social media! And I agree, communication nowadays is so much different than how it used to be. Things like distance definitely would have been more difficult on long distance friendships before, but luckily, we are now able to better maintain our connections with other people.

  4. Great comments on social media enabling you to bring a piece of home along with you. I can definitely relate to the feeling that social media makes it feel like you never left. In particular, I feel like Snapchat gives the best glimpse into people’s real lives. While Instagram showcases events people go to and Twitter showcases what people are thinking, Snapchat offers a really candid platform that makes me feel like I’m still in touch with people. Seeing their faces and hearing their voices is so powerful. Also, the fact that you were able to use social media to bring together people with similar interests in real life is so incredible. The power of social media to organize people is amazing.

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