Inspired by Worldly Willie, A Study Abroad Advice Column for Troubled Travelers
Dear Mobile Mike,
Let’s say that hypothetically, I were to have this friend on my abroad program who spends ALL her time on facebook. Hypothetically, people make fun of her because whenever we are out in Sydney or traveling through the Australian outback, she is on her crackberry updating her status and engaging in virtual “poke wars” rather than actually experiencing the moment. Every time she takes a picture, she can’t help but think of her photographed friends as mere “tags” on a computer screen and how it will appear on her news feed. The idea of instantly updating my friends back home excites me. But it scares her that if something isn’t captured on facebook, it’s as if it never happened. It’s kind of like that saying “if a tree falls in a forest full of deaf deer, did it make a noise?” or whatever.
What I’m trying to say is, I think I’m addicted to facebook. I merely used words like “hypothetically” and “my friend” to trick you. How can I “de-friend” my obsession and learn to appreciate my time down unda’ without going through withdrawal?
Believe it or not, this is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue, and unfortunately there has yet to be a downloadable app for recovering facebook addicts. In a world of excessive technology, having so many conveniences at our fingertips undoubtedly makes global communication a cinch. However, when the technology compromises your ability to live in the moment, study abroad can quickly lose its allure. Sometimes you need to take the time to “write on your own wall,” and reflect and appreciate the moment minus the blackberry. First step: remove the facebook app from your crackberry. This will allow you to separate facebook time from real life. Second, take a calendar and allot yourself an hour of facebook time each day this week. Taper down to 45 minutes next week, then half an hour, etc. until facebook actually owes you time (as it should). Finally, poking is so 2005. Save yourself the poke and spend your energy exploring Sydney harbor. As nice as it looks tagged online, I hear it’s an even better view in real life! Good luck, MM
Dear Mobile Mike,
PLEASE HLP- I jsut woke up on the flor of my hotel room with no recollection of what hapened last night. Last thing i remember, we were celebrating my friends bachlor party, and now ther’s a tiger in the bathroom. I cant find my friend, and I have a feeling that fidning him will involve several surprising yet comical shenanigans.
Ow my head hurts. What do i do?
You seem to be quite confused, as you just recounted the plot of the recent summer slapstick comedy, “The Hangover.” Unfortunately, a semester abroad in Vegas has yet to be approved by most American institutions.
Fingers crossed for a sequel!
I’m studying abroad in Termini, Italy and was so excited to learn that I would get to live with a host family. All I could think about was the genuine Italian cuisine I would enjoy each night with my new Sicilian family. Unlimited soup and breadsticks- Prego! But when I arrived I found my “host family” to be an old woman who never cooks. I wander around town each night in search of my family dinner, but am constantly left eating at a fast food joint. Soggy pasta? No grazie! All my friends are living it up each night with their family’s “bene penne” and I feel like I was duped! What do I duomo?
Pasta La Vista
It sounds like there is a grande problema here on several levels. First of all, Italy is not a giant Olive Garden! I know we all search for our family meals, but it is important that you leave your cultural stereotypes aside and experience Italy with a fresh perspective. With that said, it sounds like your program promised you that “when you’re here, you’re family!” and your host mother is not delivering her end of the bargain. If everyone else in your program is eating homemade meals and you are stuck on the streets, you should definitely bring this up to your program director. In any case, try visiting a local market and picking up some fresh ingredients. Perhaps you can use this as an opportunity to try your hand at Italian cooking!
Feeling anxious abroad? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org!