Disconnected: Life Abroad, Without Internet

Written by  November 15, 2013

What happens when you have to live life offline?

Moving to another country always presents a series of challenges and frustrations when it comes to adapting to a different way of life. In my experience, this process tends to make me realize and appreciate the things I tend to take for granted.

It has now been two weeks since I landed in Denmark, yet somehow it feels like I have been here forever. I have found myself adapting quite easily into the culture, but something that has been a significant challenge is the lack of Internet access. I am living in a house with two of my classmates and trying to coordinate Internet installation has been a hassle. This has involved numerous visits from the technician who always leaves with a new reason as to why we cannot get our connection that day.

Paying rent, catching up with my courses, keeping in touch with family and friends, and getting in touch with new friends here in Kolding have all required a Wi-Fi connection. We don’t realize how dependent we are until we are left to our own devices and being disconnected has forced me to be creative and patient in order to accomplish these tasks. Despite this frustration, I can say that I have learned several things:

Life still goes on.

Only being able to connect once I am at school or visiting friends does not present the best scenario for getting things done online. This has forced me to simply live in the moment and has actually allowed me to discover this city more than I might have otherwise. Not depending on Google maps to get around has led me to discover places in a more authentic way. Picking a time and place to meet, and leaving notes behind really allows you to manage your time and just go with it.

You actually get things done.

I have been able to focus on my readings without any distractions, which has allowed me to finish my work much earlier than I have ever before. Fully concentrating on writing this post at the moment is a nice change from my usual surfing of the web while I work. Perhaps I should try this approach more often!

There is always somewhere to get a connection.

While this may not be true of all locations in the world, chances are you will always be able to find a connection somewhere. Whether it’s in a hostel, on campus or in a café, you can still get the basic things you need to get done accomplished. I have been staying after class to pay my bills and print my course readings for the week ahead and while it may not be as convenient as being at home, the possibility is there.

Everyone appears so helpless without Internet but maybe it can teach us something important. We should focus on the people we are with and the places we are at. While using the Internet is a great tool, we often get stuck in the mindless habit of being connected for the sake of being connected. Take this as advice to accomplish what you must, but disconnect for a while and get out there. You never know what you might find.

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Melissa Gagne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Melissa Gagne has always had a knack for finding adventure. After completing her undergrad in Toronto, Melissa ventured off to South Korea for a year to teach English. She is now on her way to Europe to begin her Masters in Tourism through the Erasmus Programme, which will take her to Denmark, Slovenia and Spain.

Website: hereandtherelocally.wordpress.com/

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