Marte Eggleston is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism major at the Indiana University, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
In this week's post, Marte shares her thoughts on communicating with home while you're studying abroad.
It may seem a little funny that a CAPA blogger is talking about staying in touch abroad especially since I check in every week, but it is an important topic!
Firstly, everyone is different and you don’t have to feel obligated to be in constant contact. You also don’t have to feel like you shouldn’t talk to your loved ones every day. Being in a foreign country for so long affects people differently, and one of the ways to be okay with being gone is talking to your friends and family back home. Social media has made this even easier; you can share where you are, what you’re doing, and most importantly share photos almost anywhere! It is important to find a balance of keeping one foot back home but keeping the rest in the present wherever you are.
Personally, I did not get an international phone plan, so this means that I can pretty much only use my American phone when connected to Wi-Fi. I also have an Italian phone that I can use to make calls in an emergency. It is a huge adjustment to get used to at first. I can’t just look up directions if I need them, and I can’t text my friends here in Florence or back home constantly. Sometimes it can be more frustrating than other times, but it has made me appreciate being able to communicate more.
Another change is that I have never had this many photos to post on Facebook in my entire life. Not to mention that people expect to see them with regular updates! It is fun to be able to share my experiences with my extended family and friends, but uploading 50+ photos does take up some time. I enjoy sharing my experiences, and I don’t think it is a negative thing to share with your online world. There is a little concern that some people may become annoyed with all the exotic travel photos, but I don’t give too much thought to it.
For some people it can be more rewarding to not be on social media or use it less while being abroad. There needs to be a balance between actually looking at the sights and looking at them through a camera lens or screen, but everyone needs to have his or her own experience, and if that means taking a picture every day that’s fine or if that means rarely taking or posting a picture, that is fine too!
It is fun to receive packages and letters from home, though it can take some time to ship them. Snail mail may not always be the most efficient way to communicate, but it does add to the experience!
Marte's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned.