What do we expect from the social media?
Even though there is a bunch of information given to us during information sessions, orientations and pamphlets from study abroad offices, why do we search ‘#studyabroad’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Because we want to know what people really think about their study abroad experiences. Frankness is what makes the social media the main source of information in the modern society.
The social media allows us to be frank. When we officially speak or write about any kind of experience, we have to be careful in language use and be conscious about the fact that others might judge us. But anonymity and openness in cyberspace let us frankly speak about our experiences.
Today I’m going to introduce BuzzFeed’s three posts about study abroad experience in the order by the number of likes: 21 Mortifying Things That Actually Happened To People Who Studied Abroad, 19 Study Abroad Tips That Are Actually Helpful, and 22 Struggles You Face When Returning From Study Abroad.
As you can recognize from their titles, it is unlikely that pamphlets from study abroad offices talk about 21 embarrassing moments that exchange students went through. Also, study abroad tips in BuzzFeed are different from those you heard at the orientation because the latter would not give you a real talk, such as “Don’t let your relationship hold you back” or “Hang out with people who aren’t from your home country, but you’re also allowed to hang out with people who know where you’re coming from.”
Sometimes the social media doesn’t practically help you adapt to the new environment. But, you can feel safe by simply knowing that others feel same as you feel. BuzzFeed’s list of 22 struggles you face when returning from study abroad would never help you overcome struggles or so. It just enumerates struggles that you will face when you go back to your home university, such as “You can’t just take a weekend to visit another country because now you have homework that actually involves work.” This is neither a tip nor an advice.But as you read this list of struggles, you can laugh out and identify yourself with other exchanges students. And that frankness keeps us logged in.