Unplugging is like using sunscreen: I know I should do it, I often don’t and maybe that’s why I’ll die of cancer.
Even though it is generally good advice, I tend to roll my eyes whenever someone tells me I spend too much time on my laptop. So earlier this month when Inside Higher Ed published “Digital Cocoons and the Raw Abroad,” a plea by two U.S. professors for study abroad students to unplug from their “digital helmet,” I rolled my eyes so hard I felt like I was thirteen again. Here’s an excerpt:
Today’s study abroad explorers may leave their home country but not leave home at all. Thanks to cheap international data plans and smartphones in their pockets, millennial Americans seldom say goodbye to familiar friends, family and online comforts as they set out to experience life in a different country. Can a digital native ever go native?
What does it take for a digital native like me to “go native” in Santiago? Well, considering how many of my Chilean friends also grew up glued to a Game Boy, I would have to plug in, Santiago-style.
“Don’t unplug. Replug.” Photos: Daniel Bergerson, 2016.