Home Doesn’t Feel Like Home

Since returning home from The Netherlands and my other travels and having met amazing people, it has been hard to stay in contact. It was easy at first, we both would make time to chat and also be missing each other, but as time went on, our lives continued and we became so busy that it was months between conversations, and even then, the time zones were hard to deal with because you would be going to bed as they were waking up, so between my sleepy eyes and their tired waking eyes, it was hard to hold a conversation.

Relationships defiantly changed, I didn’t have the same friendship group when I returned to high school for my senior year, the connections I thought I made with my friends back home while I was away weren’t what they seemed. I had changed, I grew up, matured, while some friends seemed to still be immature and stuck in their own world. It was frustrating, all I wanted to do was spend time with friends, or have a decent conversation while I struggled with being home, but I couldn’t. This struggle made me connect with friends from overseas more. In this sense, I made other friends and connected with other people, which allowed me to open up.

I’ve been home for about 5 years now from the Netherlands, and I still speak to my host family. Very rarely, but we still catch up from time to time. My friends from the Netherlands don’t contact me much, but I always see what they are up to on Facebook, so it’s nice to a degree to still have those connections.

I’ve been back from the States for a couple of months now and I keep in contact with some my colleagues on a monthly/odd basis. Facebook and Snapchat keeps me updated with what people are up to, so there isn’t much to talk about when you do strike a conversation. When I head back to the States I know relationships will definitely have changed. One friend has had a baby since I left, I love Facebook and Instagram for this reason – being able to see pictures.

I think it’s clear to see that communication across time zones is difficult for some as they have to adjust to time differences when contacting friends and family from home. From experience relationships will always change because as you travel and experience different things from around the world, the people you left behind stay the same.

Click here to see Charlotte’s hopes of communicating with friends from abroad after returning home.

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Why Look At Communication Across Time Zone?

When we realized that we both had studied abroad, Charlotte and I began talking and found ourselves comparing and contrasting our experiences. Since we were in our BCM 240: Media, Audience, Place class, our conversation began to focus on our communication while abroad and how media shaped our experiences abroad in a way that is different to what they would have been even just a few years ago. Therefore, when it came time to decide on the topic for our final project for BCM 240, we decided to look deeper into our own as well as other people’s experiences with communication across time zones, either while abroad or while communicating with friends that they met when those friends were abroad. Through a series of blog posts beginning with this one, we created a compilation of people’s experiences with media and communication across the world to create a story that shows how communication changes while people are abroad and once they return home from being abroad. We interviewed a variety of people from four different countries with varying backgrounds and levels of communication that bring together their individual stories and experiences into one narrative of comparing and contrasting experiences.

BCM240 Project Proposal

Getting ideas for a research project is not easy unless you get talking and researching and thinking about what you have previously done.

In my subject BCM210 last semester I conducted research to do with Studying Abroad and how student experiences can be both positive and negative during and also upon their return. As I have completed lots of research previously on studying abroad and student exchange, I wish to continue this study.

While learning about students in my tutorial I discovered that there was a student (Charlotte) from the USA that lives very close to where I was based over in the states working on summer camps as a soccer coach. We soon connected to build a working friendship which has allowed us to pair up for Task 3 researching studying abroad and how students can get the most out of their experiences while studying abroad. We want to look at the geographics of how students connect and engage with others while on exchange and how they connect with friends and family back home. Charlotte and I have spent lots of time brainstorming, creating and scratching many ideas to present and expand our research. Charlotte and I will collaborate together while gathering primary and secondary research and information from other exchange students at UOW as well as online.

From discussing our strengths and weaknesses, we will be presenting our information via wordpress with a category allowing you to select what type of section you would like to read into about exchange.

We hope to blog on the following topics expand our own and others knowledge of studying abroad: How we use media to deal with the geographical space between home and our host country. This proposal lead to multiple sub blog posts topics that we can research into and talk about with students. They are;

  • How you deal with time zones
  • How do you connect to home (social media, Skype, different apps and apps that do/don’t work)-link to descriptions/videos of how apps work
  • Who you contact and how relationships have changed

 

As well as these topics we will also include posts about our own experiences and find academic articles to help with expressing these views. Being able to talk to other students as well that are currently on exchange will help with the research, thus we will endeavour to get some thoughts from other students dealing with the emotions of it all.

Interviews will be conducted and recorded which would allow for Charlotte and I to reflect back on these while producing our work. It should be considered that we could do a film recording for one of our blogs as this is another platform that would be very useful in sharing the experiences of students. This still needs to be discussed.

Sharing these experiences will help students dealing with any problems they may be experiencing also which we should be conscious of although I feel that this is going to be a positive learning experience for Charlotte and myself along with the students involved.