Transitioning to a New Country
Has anyone in our digital native generation ever wondered how our parents communicate, in the age without advanced technology like computer, when they were young? Most of us have probably thought about it and will likely not want to live in that time period. In our generation, the vast majority of our friends, families, and members in this society are depended to technological devices in their everyday life. Many of those including myself are most likely exposed to the computer at an early age. My father introduced me to the computer when I was about ten, but I was more hooked into playing action figures with other kids in the neighbor than using the device. That all changed when I moved to the U.S and entered my freshmen year in high school. The transition of moving to a new country was difficult as I have to leave a lot of my close friends in Vietnam and learning a new language. Every time I try to say a sentence to a teacher or a peer, they would try so hard to understand what I was trying to say, and overtime I started to lose the confident of communicating with other people in a one-on-one conversation. And so I started to turn to computer as a way to communicate, to improve my English, and to keep in touch with my friends and relatives in Vietnam.
It all started out as using the computer to communicate with my new friends in school. Instant messenger and Facebook then became a big part in my life over the next few years as it was the primary way for me to communicate effectively with other people. These social media through the computer allowed me to progressively and slowly build up my confident to talk to people in a more interactive conversation. I became more open and expressive through virtual conversation in chat boxes. Overtime, I learned more about the computer functions and by then it was not just using the computer to communicate but also for other uses such as browsing through Google, playing online video games, and editing videos and music. The virtual world allowed me to glimpse into the world where I can read news from all part of the world, tour places by looking at pictures and learn some amazing skills such as coding and even the hacking cultures. Because of its abundant knowledge in almost everything, I began to invest a majority of my high school time inside with the computer as it became a big part of my everyday life.
With the computer, I was able to stay connected with my friends and relatives in Vietnam. One of the greatest benefits the computer has is the online access of communication over long distance. I remembered using it as an access for Skype video chatting to keep in touch with my friends as it was the closest way I could think of that can almost be face-to-face communicating. I would video chat with my relatives for countless hours about the how life was in American and it was convenience for both of us as it was free of charge. By chatting and connecting with the people I loved across the globe, the computer allowed me to never feel alone and that I can always contact my family if I need to talk to them. Without it, I could still contact them over the phone but eventually the images of my friends and relatives would slowly fade away over time.
Communicating with other people online was the most effective way for me to learn English. When talking to friends in school, I didn’t have the confident to express myself due to my inadequate English knowledge and so I was quiet most of the time unless a teacher calls on me. However, when I am online, I was slightly more confident to communicate with other people as I didn’t have to see the disapproving look when making a grammatical or pronunciation mistake.
In addition, there were online websites with grammar rules where I can look at when I forget a specific rule in a sentence. This easy access to grammar rules and styles makes it hard to forget as I can always look at it and reinforce it for my school assignment. Furthermore, using computer for online communication serves as a physical barrier between the person I’m talking to and me, and so when I make a grammar mistake I wouldn’t have to see their expressive look. And that was the best way for me to learn English as I was more willing to practice my English without criticism. In addition, I was able to develop my vocabulary by browsing through online articles and reviews about games, places, and computer coding.
Along those lines when I spent most of my time inside on a computer in the first two years of high school, there were some negative aspects that I would change if I can go back in time. As spending too much time on the computer, I became somewhat of what most people called a “socially awkward” person. At a point when I was too quiet, people would start a conversation but I wouldn’t be able to think of anything to talk about so there was that awkward silent. I also think that my attention span is shortened because I spent too much time on the computer, or what my friends and family have told me. That was and still is a problem in school for me in school as I would be distracted with computer’s application instead of doing reading or homework. While being able to talk to people in the digital world, I would be easily distracted with pop-ups and notifications on my computer screen while writing an essay or researching for a school paper. But on a good side when entering my junior year in high school, I didn’t have the fear of rejection from my peer due to my lack of English language and so I started hanging out with friends rather than the computer.
Even though technology like the computer started as something that I didn’t need when I was little, it became an important and essential part of my life when I needed it most. It helped me boost up my confident to communicate with people like the way I talked to other people when I was little. It also gave me an insight of the vast knowledge and places of the world that I could never imagine. But most importantly, it helped me with improving my English by having the abundant accessible tools to use when working on essay. While it serves many meaningful purposes for me, it also upholds consequences that such as distraction and even talking in fragmented sentences.