Cultural Experience | All Experiences

The International WiFi Struggle

A godlike, lifesaving thing called WiFi.

If you’ve ever traveled out of the country, you probably know all about just how sacred WiFi becomes during your weeklong vacation or semester abroad. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a global data plan (literally everyone envies you if you do), this is probably the most relatable thing all 21st century globetrotters have in common. It all sounds trivial, but I’ve made friends with Germans in Amsterdam, bonded with Kiwis in Copenhagen, and gotten to know Brits in Madrid all because we were trying to figure out how to log in to the hostel’s WiFi.

Here’s a chronological list of how not being able to use your phone whenever you want for a few months affects you:

1) The separation anxiety begins

However, if you fly an airline overseas that offers complimentary WiFi, never ever fly another airline again.

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Via giphy.com

2) Messaging your family and friends the first week

Basically how it feels to respond to “how are things over there?” for the 20th time in the span of an hour when you finally do find WiFi.

image wifi gif

Via giphy.com

3) But this is how you really feel

The real Hunger Games is finding WiFi that you don’t have to pay for, create an account for, like something on Facebook for, or that isn’t password protected. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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Via wordpress.com

4) You develop trust issues the first month

When your free two hours of WiFi are up at McDonald’s or Starbucks, you really just don’t know the meaning of life anymore.

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Via giphy.com

5) You start to find misleading glimmers of hope

I’m sorry, what? Is this a joke? Actually, yes it is; the train will come before you even figure out how to log in.

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Via giphy.com

6) Desperate times call for desperate measures

There’s no shame in trying to make it load faster. Twitter just can’t wait ten more seconds. Buffering has now become the bane of your existence.

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Via giphy.com

7) You get really, really desperate

Because it’s 6:00am in the club and you really just want to check Instagram. Like right now.

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Via giphy.com

8) You prioritize trolling the Internet over friends

The real reason you ate at that restaurant was because the door said there was WiFi. Let’s be honest.

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Via bustle.com

9) How you feel when it stops working

After you already ordered your food, you realized that the WiFi doesn’t work. Better luck next time.

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Via giphy.com

10) Readjusting to real life again

You mean I can actually use my phone whenever, wherever? Switching on data again is a religious experience that is equally as confusing. Just brace yourself for a surge of notifications before you can actually do anything uninterrupted.

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Via giphy.com

After being reunited with convenience and simplicity again, you soon realize that you don’t even use your phone that much. In fact, you actually might have even liked having a break from constant text messages, emails, phone calls, and other notifications. You checked another country off of the bucket list, got to experience a different way of life, immersed yourself in a new culture, and even learned to live without WiFi for a while.

Congratulations! You’ve conquered the world and the impulsive need to check your phone every 10 seconds! Check out my Instagram handle @Benrissler

Ben Rissler

American University | 8 stories

Ben is a senior at American University in Washington, D.C. majoring in International Studies. He loves trying new foods, going to electronic music festivals, and looking up where to go next. In spring 2015, Ben studied abroad at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany. He loves to share his passion for the world with others and hear about other people’s experiences overseas. Throughout his travels, Ben has been to 20 countries spanning Africa, Europe, and North America. Follow @benrissler on Instagram for more travel inspiration.


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