Late Night Zoom Thoughts

Aloha! And welcome back to another late-night blog post with Aaliyah. Recently, I had a Zoom session with some students from the UEA! Pretty cool right!? We talked a lot about where we were from, what it was like traveling for school, and about some small things like plants and coffee. There were no doubt many differences and similarities between my home, and the homes of my exchange partners, however, the two that struck me as most important from the Zoom session were our differences in perception of what is considered a long travel time and what we considered to be home.

One of our dominant conversations was about the connection we have with our families even though we all moved a ways away for college. This feeling of missing home seemed to be universal, as whether you were in two states, a country, or even 30 minutes away, we all felt a longing for our family. However, one thing that was particular to the US students was that we felt that even being far away from home we never felt alone. In my case, I have family in Delaware and Virginia, which are a few hours away, but the time does not matter because they can still make it to me. This seems the be the same sentiment for the other two Dickinsonians as well. It brought up a good discussion about what was considered “long” travel time. Both of the UEA students considered 30 minutes to get home long a drive, let alone a few hours, whereas I drove 30 minutes on a good day, every day for high school. It was also interesting to see how even my plane ride was longer than one of the UEA students who traveled from another country. It is fascinating to see the cultural difference in how US students are used to traveling long distances without even batting an eye. It may be attributed to the fact that even though the US is huge (with some of our states bigger than other countries) we are still all connected. It is easy to go from one place to another, with road trips being a tradition with many American families. This probably extended into our everyday lives as time went on, creating people willing to drive 45-plus minutes to get to work every day. In comparison to other countries crossing “state” lines means going into another country making it less accessible. Overall it was funny and exciting to talk about.

Our second dominant conversation was about the universal feeling of love we have for our homes. We all bragged about how amazing our home country or states are, as we all felt a lot of pride for our homes. I enjoyed this part of the conversation as you could hear a shift in everyone’s voice from semi-border to excitement. It also brought up the question of what you consider to be your home! For most of us, we talked about where we grew up or were born, but a couple of students had a mix of answers. One of the Dickinsonans students grew up bi-coastal constantly traveling in between, so he shared some of his favorite memories from each place he went. A UEA student was technically from two countries and talked about his time in the UEA and home. For him, home seemed to be wherever he was at the moment, in comparison to one of the Dickinson students who felt a little nomadic because of how much he traveled as a kid. This was one of the first similarities we had with the UEA students. Some define home as a place where you grew up and others as the places where you have been. This conversation showed us how “home” can be the same for two people even if they grew up in different countries and cultures.

So far, I enjoyed talking with and getting to know more about my classmates and the UEA students. I look forward to more discussions of our backgrounds and cultural differences! Have a good night and I’ll see you in the next blog 🙂

3 thoughts on “Late Night Zoom Thoughts”

  1. This is a great post, thank you for sharing! I found it interesting that the general idea of the differences between family to American and UAE students seems to be pretty different, as it came up in my groups conversation as well. Most US students are taught independence from a very young age, and College is the embodiment of that. Being away from family, and moving out is very much the expectation whereas in the UAE they still seem very connected, physically and emotionally, to their families even while away, and most said that they’ll return t their families when they’re done with school. I really enjoyed your piece about what you and your group considered “Home”, as it reall made me realize that no matter where you’re from, or where you grew up, we all have those places in life that just give us a sense of nostalgia, family or, well, home. This is one of the greatest similarities I think there is between US and AUE students, no matter what “Home” is, its a very special place to us no matter what. Is there anywhere outside of your hometown that you consider home? Thanks again for the great post!

  2. Hiiii, I just want to say you did a really good job on your post! “Home” in our minds, hearts, and souls may refer to different things. Some would say it’s a place while others think it’s a feeling. But “home” is just home. It’s a place that make us feel the love, a safe-zone we can always come back, and a feeling of being welcomed. Is there any other loving memories you want to share about the place you live? Thank you for sharing such wonderful thoughts about you and your exchange partner’s perspectives on “home”, I hope you guys will have a great journey ahead!

  3. Hi Lia! First, I want to commend you for having such a vibrant and inviting tone in your blog. Reading your post was very enjoyable and although my group discussed similar topics, I feel like your entry offered completely new perspectives. I love how you brought up the different understandings Americans and Emiratis have as far as travel goes. I agree that we can attribute the American perspective to how large the country is and I wonder if common modes of transport have anything to do with it as well. For example, I know that in the U.S., in many places it is almost necessary to have a car in order to travel because our public transportation isn’t that reliable. In the UAE however, my Emirati group members told me that it is very common for people to solely use public transport as a means to travel. I think the attitudes towards travel and the differences in infrastructure are very interesting. Thank you for your insight!

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