This week marked the beginning of the second half of my program here in Spain, and it feels like the longer I’m here the more differences I seem to notice. Coming to a foreign country from the U.S. was a big culture shock for me and it has taken some getting used to. Whether it be different cultural norms or just common day to day routines, everything has come with a learning curve. However, the thing I seem to notice most about the difference here is in the technology.
In the U.S., we aren’t the most energy conservative people. We tend to leave lights on or the water running or things plugged in even if we don’t need to charge them. We’re also big fans of long showers and hot water and having dryers to dry our clothes for us. In Spain, that isn’t quite the case. Here, being energy efficient is basically a cultural requirement. We don’t leave lights on when we leave a room, we don’t leave the water on if we’re not rinsing something off(including while in the shower), and for the most part we don’t use air conditioning or even have a dryer. Also, the technology we have in our school here is very different than what we have at my university back in the States. The building I was in for the entire last month barely had anything technological in it at all. There was a small projector and a screen for it, but that was basically it. We used the white board or had paper handouts for classwork or homework, and only used the projector if we needed more explanation of a topic.
It has been interesting to not have as much of an emphasis on the need for technology in the day to day routine here. For the most part, technology isn’t really needed here in order to function in schools or throughout the day. For example, over the past two days there has been power outages at school. They have lasted anywhere from 10 minutes to as long as an hour, and yet we still had class as if it was just another day. We read the material we needed to cover, completed the exercises we had assigned, and had discussions about it afterwards. It put into perspective just how unnecessary a surplus of technology is. Yes technology is a great thing and is a valuable tool in education and in developing the world, however it is not something that will make or break it. Its just as possible to have a complete lesson with just a pen and a piece of paper as it is to have it with all the latest and greatest tech. Technology is something that has changed and reshaped the world as we know it a thousand times over, and it will continue to do so as it develops and changes over time. However, I think it is important to remember and to recognize that we are just as capable of learning and enhancing our lives without relying so heavily on it.
Until next time!