The GoGlobal Blog

Scared to go back to my American data plan

Scared to go back to my American data plan

The most valuable thing I have learned while studying abroad hasn’t been how to plan trips, the Italian culture, or nine different languages at a two year old level… The most valuable thing I have learned while studying abroad is how to live in the now, how to be present.

The other night fifteen of us went out to dinner. We stayed at this dinner for about two hours. We talked the whole time and never once mentioned social media, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Except for the occasional SnapChat at the beginning and at the end of dinner, I didn’t see anyone’s phones.

This has never happened to me in America. Everyone checks their phones while eating out, everyone scrolls through Instagram when waiting for their food to arrive, or at least everyone mentions something that someone posted on some social media site.

Not just young adults either, almost everyone in every age group.

Why? Are Instagram pictures more important than having genuine conversations with the friends and family around you?

Here in Europe I can only use my phone when I have Wi-Fi. In Rome the only places with Wi-Fi are our school library and dining hall. When I am traveling the only places with Wi-Fi are places we are staying, which we are only at late at night.

And it has been incredible.

At first this gave me anxiety. What if I get lost? What if I can’t speak to a local when I need help? What if I just really want to call my mom?

The answer: be resourceful. And, calm down.

I have learned how to use a map, how to rely on my source of direction, different ways of explaining things, gotten over my fear of talking to strangers, and that I don’t need to ask my mom what to do in every little situation.

I often just leave my phone in my dorm when I go out, I can’t use it anyway. I don’t have a problem going all weekend not checking social media. It get’s pretty boring anyways.

I have learned to look around me, to observe the mannerisms of people in other cultures, to look around at the scenery in 18 different cities, to be present in what is happening right now. I have learned how incredible it is to communicate with friends for hours at dinner with no mention of irrelevant social media gossip or interrupting Snap Chats or texts.

I’m honestly scared that once I gain back the freedom of using my phone anywhere, anytime, I will get absorbed back into my iPhone. I will go back to constantly texting, constantly checking social media, constantly talking about social media, because everyone else will be.

Social media, texting, and calls absolutely have their advantages but, just for a day try to turn your phone on airplane mode, or go out to dinner with friends and leave your phone at home.

Let’s get back to living in the moment; because once you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.

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