In the Autumn semester last year, I met my good friend – M.A through her project about the language barriers that Vietnamese students face while studying university at Wollongong. I remember responding to her survey online and felt very related to it. Then, I got an invitation to participate in M.A’s focus group for this project. I could not attend the session because of the clash in my schedule, yet I still wanted to contribute something so I sent an email telling her my experience with language in Australia.
I never expected that she would reply me, as the project was simply an assignment, but she did with lots of empathy in her words. That moment of reading her email really comforted me a lot, as I felt that finally someone understood me. In her email, she even asked me out to have a drink and I agreed. Our friendship started thanks to that project.
We drank Boost Juice at the university, as the Societea did not open at the time we decided to meet. We chatted for an hour and exchanged our contacts to keep in touch as we all study BCM and found out that we share many things in common. Since then, I often chatted with M.A through Facebook about the problems I had with the subjects and other aspects in life. I have a huge respect for her knowledge and skills, which I need to learn more. Through times talking to M.A, I realize many problems I am concerned with and find ways to solve them.
Before meeting MA, I had never had faith in relationships from the virtual world. We might know a person on a social networking site, yet we might choose not to become friends with them. As we have never met them in real life before, we might question their identities, or even their existence – whether they are bots or human. However, in this case, it was strange that for the first time we talked via emails, we could feel that we can trust another person and rely on each other. We even met each other with no doubts, and developed our friendship since then. Clearly, the digital world is not that scary, and nice people are still around reaching out for us when we need their help. Despite the negative view I often hold about technology today, this time technology has connected strangers, builded and sustained relationships regardless people’s background, culture, space and time.