11/11/11

Taking Google for Granted

While some aspects of your host country will seem familiar, other things will seem incredibly different and at times, a little shocking. Things you may take for granted, you will find are actually not ubiquitous. Emily, a WorldTeach Pohnpei volunteer, shares a surprising realization about her students and the world they live in. 

I’m helping run a program after school for students who are interested in going to college in the States/Guam. To join, students needed to write an essay on why they deserve to go to college abroad. It also needed to be typed.

During the first session, we handed out questionnaires about some random things we needed to know - about citizenship, where they would consider going to college, etc. One question was, “How comfortable are you using the Internet?” and another was, “Do you have a computer at home? If not, how did you type your application essay?”

Less than half of the students have e-mail addresses. A few said they don’t use the Internet or aren’t very comfortable using it. One of my students said she used a typewriter to type her essay. WHOA. I asked my typewriter student in class the next day if she knew what Google was. Surely she had heard about it, right? She had not, and she wasn’t the only one. “Only rich kids have computers,” she told me.

I should have expected this, really. But it still blows my NY tech scene-influenced mind that there are still probably millions of people in scattered areas of the world who don’t know what Google is.

I really just wanted to tell my student to come over to my house after school that day so I could teach her about the Internet. I can see it now: “The Internet is, well… MAGIC!” 

Would you like to expand your horizons and those of the students you work with? Apply to be a WorldTeach volunteer! Click here for more information.

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