2020 is proving to be a ‘memorable’ year for everyone in their own way, some difficult, some different, but certainly memorable. We are now managing to adjust to this new reality and the biggest question is when we will be able to go back to our old habits, good or bad!
Besides our daily routine, what has been affected the most is arguably travel and specifically travelling abroad. Holidays have been cancelled, trips have been postponed and dreams of many people have just been put on hold, for now. For me, a social animal, a people person – love of travel, love of meeting people, experiencing cultures feels a world away.
Everything has changed, especially our daily routine. I don’t think you could find anyone for whom something hasn’t changed, in some shape or form. From online shopping the new norm, zoom meetings, to exercising in the living room, we have had to learn how to do things in a new way and learn very quickly!
As lovely as it is to have conveniences of modern day techno life as we call it, from having our food shopping delivered straight to our door steps and not to be bothered with dealing with long queues at shops and markets, do we miss the browsing experience? In our international student travel world, thanks to several apps and online learning, many students also have the possibility to study and attend online classes in fact, it seems it has never been easier to learn a new language from your own bedroom, or even your own bed! Online streaming, free virtual visits to museums, theatre, birthdays on zoom or video calls galore, has the novelty worn off? As much fun as it all sounds, do we not want to ‘experience’ life? Do we not want to travel again? The universal answer surely is Yes we do. So for now, we can dream and hope it becomes a reality soon…
Dream of being in a foreign country which by far is the only way to be able to absorb a culture, experience things, take in the surrounds, eat and drink and be merry and live! The reality of us, humans, is social interaction, remember ‘face to face’ learning and fun and talking to people without a device of some sort?
After all, it’s the non-classroom learning that forms and experience, not only is the easiest approach, it is also the quickest as minds and behaviours are constantly challenged and students will acknowledge new experiences without even realizing it. And then there is the cultural, living with a host experience. Isn’t there a lot more now to talk about! So many new things to experience now and what better way to do it than living with locals. Locals, homestay hosts who can guide, support, and teach you in more ways than you would know.
So let’s dream, let’s make memories out of experiences, of travel, of the smell of a new country, a feel of a new place, learning the quirks of the language by engaging with local people, in the company of other international travellers, make friends, take photos outside museums with arms around each other’s shoulders, let’s make dreams a reality soon and until then, let’s keep the memories alive.