Haley Thomas, a junior at the University of Alabama, learned the value in being present and disconnected from technology while on LEAD Greece. We encourage all of our students to commit to connect to each other while studying abroad!
At the beginning of our trip we were told to “disconnect to connect.” I knew I wanted to get away from life at home and fully engage myself in the trip, but I didn’t think I was completely ready to turn away from my phone. In Athens, wifi was available in the lobby of our hotel and at some restaurants. I would usually take advantage of when I had it, but slowly realized how much better the dinners were when none of us were on our phones. We had more meaningful conversations and got to know each other better than we did at dinners where wifi was available. By the time we got to Santorini, barely anyone could get on the wifi, but it wasn’t a problem. At this time in the trip I felt like I was already feeling so close to the people I had met. I started to notice how little I even looked at my phone. This is when I decided I was ready to disconnect. I didn’t go on wifi at all in Santorini. I had some of the best days of my life with some of the best people I had ever met. Disconnecting really does force you to connect. If all you are thinking about is the trip and the people on it, you fully engage yourself. I made more friends and had wonderful conversations. The GoGlobal staff has taught us so much and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my study abroad experience has in store for me!