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International British Online School

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Forming international friendships

Forming international friendships with your classmates

Forming international friendships

Forming international friendships with your classmates, the pros and cons

Don’t you think that whenever the topic concerning forming international friendships is mentioned, people take sides and many arguments arise? I certainly think so. In the history of mankind, possibly no century witnessed more progress in technology than the 20th century did. From my frame of reference, I believe that international friendships, if implemented, will have a cumulative effect on the well-being of both individual students and society as a whole.

What are the pros?

To start with, it is obvious that having international friendships means making friends all over the globe, it means being surrounded “remotely” by diverse people from various parts of the world, which undoubtedly has many benefits. One of those benefits is discovering new cultures and dealing with them. If you think about it, it causes you to be more open-minded about various topics. You begin to think about a subject from different angles and distinct points of view. Moreover, this not only helps you when solving homework or filling the gaps in some of your schoolwork but also allows you to develop sharp thinking skills and gives you an extensive view of consistently faced problems.

Furthermore, when meeting a new person, people are often concerned about sharing any personal details about themselves for multiple reasons whether they’re introverted or extroverted. This would lead to an extension of the acquaintance period, meaning that people take long durations to become familiar with each other. However, this could be briefly eliminated when meeting online instead. Most people feel the facility of sharing information online, especially over text. This is because you often feel more comfortable talking to a person without worrying about awkward reactions to your stories. All in all, this could accelerate the process of learning about new people.

international friendships

Educational benefits of having international friends.

On top of that, you get to meet your friends daily from the comfort of your own home, and for me, that is the most important aspect of international friendships- no need to even change from your pajamas. Additionally, you do not need to arrange for meetings/hangouts previously, a text through social media just 2 minutes before the meeting is enough. All jokes aside, let’s talk about the educational benefits of having international friends. We all probably know the benefits of studying in groups or having a ‘study buddy’, as previously mentioned you get to know various points of view when working together on a project with your classmates. You get to experience various learning techniques and methods which may change your learning experience 180 degrees.

In addition to what was mentioned prior, having friends around the globe allows you to have a glance at different locations that you might be issuing. Your online friends could be a marvelous aid when visiting a new country. They can inform you about the climate, educational systems, food, and living costs to be expected. People also tend to share their languages with their friends whenever the opportunity approaches.

This means that they can also help you learn about their native tongue! Learning a new language could be complicated, but having a friend with who you can practice over the internet would boost the process.

What are the cons?

On the other hand, the most obvious drawback of having international friendships is the long-distance which limits activities and meetings we were all used to. This little or no face-to-face interaction increases the time needed for building trust in friendships and therefore requires longer time and more effort to form them. Furthermore, the difference in cultures and religions could influence considerably bad habits in the long term.

What’s more, is that international friendships force people to use social media which inevitably increases screen-time. That surely contributes to the frightening amount of time we are spending in front of screens due to lockdown in 2021. Most people underestimate the effect of excessive screen use on our developing brains but it actually ought to be the most important point to consider. Studies show that screen use stifles creative thinking, especially in children and teenagers. Lastly and most importantly is the decrease in social skills due to the decrease in real-life interactions with people. As mentioned, many people prefer texting over video calls, this further impacts social skill development especially among children and teenagers.

“The more the merrier” is generally a positive quote, but in the case of online friends it could come in a negative sense. The more online friends a person has, the more time they will spend solely on their screens. This will limit their involvement in daily life routines, and adding insult to injury, it could drastically affect a person’s mental and physical health. So ultimately, online friendships can trigger a sense of isolation. As clear as it is, online texting or voice calls do not incorporate any means of body language which could lead to misunderstandings as well as the drastic loss of real-life social skills as mentioned above.

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It is up to you.

To put it in a nutshell, I pen down saying that as every garden has weeds, similarly, forming international friendships with your classmates also has some drawbacks. However, these drawbacks are nothing compared to their vast benefits. The choice is up to everyone’s preferences. However, remember not to bite off more than you can chew.