Building Bridges With Technology



Our exchange has been all about building bridges— making connections to make a difference. We noticed that we’ve had amazing moments of connection, but at times technology can create a barrier between people that is challenging to overcome.

Coming to America, we noticed that this imbalance, or technology addiction, is not only a Romanian, Nigerian, or American problem, it is a global problem. As exchange students in the same school, we decided to investigate the problem and encourage change via social media.

We worked together to create a video to shed light on the problem and encourage others to find a balance between connection online and connection between people! To encourage this, we created a hashtag to get people excited about posting ways to connect without technology, and share it via our hashtag (#notechmofun) on Instagram.

To create our project, we each reached out to friends and gathered videos from our home countries and America. We also interviewed a professor, Dr. Kimberly O’Conner, from Purdue University Fort Wayne to get her opinion on the topic. We each played a part in the video message and shared our unique talents. We then worked together to complete the other elements to make our project come to life: Mette wrote the essay; Ahmad designed and created T-shirts to get our message out; Mikolaj lead the charge on social media; Roberta used her artistic skills to add flare to our video; and Sorin worked with an American friend to create and edit our video.

We have learned so much since coming to the U.S., but one of our greatest lessons is that only by connecting with each other in real and authentic ways will we build bridges to make a difference in the world!

—Ahmad (YES, Nigeria), hosted by the Cherry family (IN)
—Mikołaj (FLEX, Poland), hosted by the Smelser family (IN)
—Sorin (FLEX, Moldova), hosted by the Reidenbach family (IN)
—Roberta (FLEX, Romania), hosted by the Cady family (IN)
—Mette-Marit (FLEX, Estonia), hosted by the Jackson family (IN)