Recently my class has been given the privilege to work with a group of ESL students from varying countries. These countries are the same countries that we are exploring in Second Life. This has allowed us to have both views of the community as both people from the physical and virtual world are contributing to our understanding of their communities. Although both distinct groups are valid they do provide an excellent comparison to one another.

            The three ESL students from China; Gerry, Carol and Holly. They allowed us to interview them on a multitude of questions. The interview occurred as follows.

How did you prepare to come to America?

Carol: Money

Gerry: We bring a credit card from China and I think maybe 500 cash on me

What did you wish you had done before you left for America?

Gerry: Not sure… I just wanted to come here and have some fun

Did you study to come here?

They informed us that they spent quite a large amount of time learning English and even visited New York City (which they though was dirty).

Anything else you wanted to do before you came here?

Carol: Go to Hawaii

What were your first impressions of America?

Gerry: Hungry; I was really hungry. I wanted to try hamburgers.

What were your first impressions of UK and Lexington?

All: Inconvenient

Why do you say that?

Carol: Everything is spread out here

What do you think of the students?

Gerry: Pretty friendly and polite

What do you think of the city?

They confirmed that they have been downtown but stated that it was too far away.

Did you all have any pets?

Gerry: Like three years ago my grandma had a cat and dog. The cat died.

What’s your favorite Slang word?

Gerry: Bitch

Any words of advice to Chinese coming to America?

Bring money. Practice English.

Do you all miss anything?

Carol: No

The entire second life experience was funny. The program’s look with every location was pretty spot on, apart from actual size comparisons to the actual place.

I began a second adventure in Taiwan tonight. It was around 11:00 and I began my search for users by following my regular routine of searching the map for green dot clusters and teleporting until I found users who seemed open to conversation. The first several minutes of my journey yielded no results. After teleporting to my 5th location, I ended up in an empty building selling SL houses and land. There was a cat there named Romeo and I allowed my avatar (who now resembled a wood elf) to sadly pet the creature.
I continued teleporting, determined to find a person. I finally came across a cluster in the south and teleported to what looked like a club. Throughout my journey, I ended up in mostly clubs for people to romantically meet each other and places that looked a little like casinos so I wasn’t alarmed at the place and the people seemed to be very friendly. However, I noticed the sign was a women’s only club and my avatar being male, I decided to stay outside.
This was a good decision, coincidentally, since I found a user sitting out on the dock. Her avatar looked like a ferret or a small cat so I decided to say that she looked very cool and I asked if it was ok if I asked her a few questions for my class. I gave her the option of remaining anonymous and our conversation went a little like this:
[20:38] huxleybnw8: Well to begin with, how long have you been on Second Life? What’s your favorite thing about it?
[20:39] User: Wow… Uhm…Since 2009, 2010?
[20:40] User: As for what I like most about Secondlife, I think honestly the people.
[20:40] User: You find all these various people from all over the world.
[20:41] huxleybnw8: Cool. :) Is it hard talking to people and making friends?
[20:42] User: It can be, but, unlike RL, you’re a bit freer here.. Since you have a shield to hide behind. But, like RL, you got bad people here.
[20:43] huxleybnw8: What kind of “bad” people? Like, what do they do?
[20:44] User: You got like griefers, who seem to get their rocks off making others miserable. And you just have people who… Are just jerks.
[20:44] huxleybnw8: How do you handle those people?
[20:45] User: With griefers, you hope they don’t do anything permanent to your avatar, and get away from them, or hope the region staff get rid of them asap.
[20:46] User: As for the others… Ignore them. Mute them. Or complain to the staff. if you feel it’s warranted
[20:47] huxleybnw8: What can the griefers do? Like, how do they do things to your avatar?
[20:48] User: There is coding that can do things like lock up your avatar, or distort how they look, or a myriad of other things.
[20:49] huxleybnw8: D: That’s scary.
[20:49] huxleybnw8: Do you have recommendations to new users who want to meet people?
[20:50] User: Yeah.. And some of the stuff you can get here if you know where to look. Like Wishmaster. Which is why it’s frowned upon
[20:50] User: As for meeting people, WELL, if you’re a female avatar, THIS place is awesome for meeting people. They’re friendly here.
[20:51] huxleybnw8 whispers: Last question :)
[20:51] huxleybnw8: Could youtell me about this place then? Do you come here often? Anything about it really.
[20:52] User: It’s a dance club, great music, great people, lots of fun.
[20:53] huxleybnw8: Cool :)
[20:53] huxleybnw8: That’s all the questions.
[20:53] User: All right.
[20:53] huxleybnw8: Thank you so much for talking with me. :)
The user preferred to remain anonymous. Overall, it was an exciting experience to interact with one of the users for the first time.

huxleybnw8 at the women's club

huxleybnw8 at the women’s club

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