Heightened Interconnectivity in an Era of Globalization

July 30, 2018 | Raha,Specialization - International Studies and Modern Languages and Additional Minor - Spanish, Columbia, Minces Action Canada, Colombian Campaign Against Landmines, Program Support Officer

This entry is dedicated to:
Those of us who possess numerous long-distance relationships with loved ones around the world, who maintain said relations with the help of today’s technology, and have felt that happiness of being reunited once again, wherever in the world that may be.

Although it is probably extremely common for people to feel as though the world shrinks as we grow older, it feels especially true for those in my field, and even more so for those of younger generations. Generally, I am quite a fan of picking myself up and planting myself in a foreign country, moving to a new place where I have to learn how things work, get to know new people, and speak in a language that differs from the ones I was raised with. For the most part, that is how the majority of my most memorable international experiences (i.e. my humanitarian adventures, my study abroad, and now my international internship), have gone thus far and I love it! But something that continues to surpass my expectations, with each adventure, is the way I am able to meet and develop relationships with a number of people I would not have otherwise known. Then, thanks to technology, we are able to properly maintain these relationships without great difficulty. This year in particular, with the international internship, the benefits of having these global connections and feeling somehow connected to the many different countries in which they reside, have been made especially clear; this year was different. Noting that difference, I felt it necessary to write an entry expressing my appreciation for the many friendships I have made, and continue to make, thanks to the international opportunities given by my faculty.

This year, I applied for and was accepted to work in Bogotá, Colombia, which I just so happened to already have a few friends in. Other than my friend from the University of Ottawa who was completing the last year of his undergrad with an exchange to la Universidad de los Andes, I already had local friends thanks to my own student exchange in Madrid, Spain. Not only was a close friend of mine, another exchange student from my year in Madrid, born and raised in Bogotá, I had also gotten the pleasure to meet some of her friends. Just last year, my Bogotan friend asked me to help look after a close friend of hers that was coming on a student exchange to Montreal, Canada, and, of course, I was more than happy to help! Two years after having done our exchange in Spain together, and one year after helping her Bogotan friend during his exchange in Canada, I have since reunited with them both here in Bogotá, Colombia! Through them, I have also had the pleasure of meeting many other Colombians, such as local friends and family, or friends from other parts of the country. This matters quite a lot to me as I usually seek local experiences when living in different countries; I enjoy spending my time with locals as there is so much to learn from them and so many authentic experiences I could not have otherwise had. That is not to say, however, that I do not love making expat friends as well. Other than some other international interns here at la Campaña (CCCM), I was able to meet an incredible group of exchange students and interns from around the world, through my Canadian friend doing his exchange here in Bogotá (exchange students usually have very international friend groups), some of whom have become my closest friends here. I have since introduced all my different friend groups so now when I am going out with friends it is usually this beautiful mix of Colombian friends from work, local Bogota friends, and international or Colombian friends working elsewhere in Bogotá.

Before concluding, I would just like to add a quick disclaimer that, as a first born generation Canadian with mixed heritage, I am no stranger to feeling deeply connected to multiple countries around the world. So, although technology has done wonders in terms of allowing me to keep in touch with relatives around the world (much more easily than the generations before me) as well, this entry was focusing mainly on relationships that would not have otherwise been created or maintained (to such an extent) without these international opportunities and the way that globalization and technology has impacted the entire process. This entry also excludes little leisure trips to visit friends in their own cities because I believe going on a trip to see a friend, and truly living in their city (be it to study or work) are rather different.

We are, as a species, increasingly interconnected, and I cannot wait to see what my next adventure brings. Already, I have a number of new countries I can begin to consider a potential future home. With the exception of more rural areas with minimal access to internet, technology has made it so that people my age can have more in common with others our age across the world than with the elders in our own country. The internet has connected us in a way generations before us could not have even imagined. Generations before us may ridicule social media and the emphasis young people place on it, and, like everything, there are certainly some cons if where there is a lack of moderation, but I truly believe that we have much to learn on the plethora of benefits such platforms may bring and how drastically it pushes forward this era of globalization, most importantly, how it connects us all (on a more personal level than any politician could), and what this interconnectivity could mean for future generations. In conclusion, I am grateful to have had friends waiting for me in Bogotá, I am grateful for the friends I have made during my time in this incredible city, and I am grateful to have been born in a generation where we do not really need to say goodbye to one another, but “hasta luego” (see you later), because not only will we, with the help of technology, always be connected, we will likely one day be reunited again, be it in “my” country, “their” country, or anywhere else in the world.

P.S. Perhaps I am especially looking forward to what the future shall bring as I am celebrating my 22nd birthday this weekend, a celebration full of latin music, and loved ones from both my personal and professional life here in Bogotá.

P.P.S I also have another Colombian (Colombian-American) friend from my time in Madrid, that will be visiting my Bogotan friend and I next weekend so that will be a very exciting reunion!

The photos included represent only a handful of moments that I believe to be some of the most fitting examples of the interconnectivity in our generation.
- Celebrating my Canadian friend’s birthday in Bogotá. At this point, I had only been in the Colombia for a couple weeks, while he had been studying here for the academic year. Because he had spent his fourth year of undergrad in Colombia, and I spent my third in Spain, it was during this internship that we were able to see each other after 2 years.
- Momento Incantatem (Harry Potter themed cafe): Harry Potter is incredibly international, this is an interesting photo representing that (most of the fans here are from different parts of Colombia, other than myself and my German friend behind me). And yes, we are all dressed up in costume!
- Monserrate: An absolute MUST in Bogotá. Here I am posing with my Bogotan friends with a beautiful view of their city behind us. I am so grateful to have been able to explore some of the best things Bogotá has to offer with them. The Bogotan girl on my right is my close friend from Madrid, and the Bogotan guy on my left is the one who studied a year in Canada!
- Torre Colpatria: taking a selfie, something I hardly ever do, but this Colombian friend/ coworker has inspired me to start trying on top of one of the tallest buildings in Colombia. This friend is constantly giving me great Instagram advice and we always have a lot of fun exploring new places and taking plenty of pictures, most of which we can later share on social media (something many people our age, around the world, share in common).

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