More recently, I initially experienced the real power of online communities through course work here at Clemson University. In Spring 2009 during the 2nd Annual Cross Cultural Interdisciplinary International Urban Design Studio (LARCH 352), I met an incredible group of students design professionals from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. During this experience, my new Egyptian friends “helped” create my Facebook page so we could keep in touch. Through Facebook social media, we shared and continue to share our lives with each other.
The power of this connection can be best illustrated through my return trip for the 4th Annual Cross Cultural Interdisciplinary International Urban Design Studio. My FB page was e-static from anticipation of the trip. Potential reunions, regrets of classmates and new photos tell of a shared but uncommon cultural experience -students working together on a design project of global scale.
The international student experience evolves with the new functionality social media offers. Our challenges have remained technical. The obstacles are slowly dissolving and connections are being forged through collaborative efforts of digital community legacy.
As spring arrives, so does the inevitable question, “Are you coming to Egypt?” This year, sadly I will have to say no to 39 disappointed friends. No cause for dispair SullenOrchid409 is currently alive and well on Xbox Live!