The Metaverse, and in particular VR platforms like Somnium Space, can play a huge role in providing environments for students where they can step outside their comfort zone, create new human connections, gain new skills and attitudes and become effective, self-confident professionals and responsible citizens in our superdiverse and globalized society.
Asking alumni what they really gained from their international experiences brings out stories about how they learned to survive and to be happy abroad. How unexpected encounters had lasting effects. About the person they became by going outside their comfort zone. It was about finding creative solutions for unexpected problems. Failing. Working out misunderstandings. Starting again. Becoming more self-confident, but also open and caring. Making new human connections. These are life-changing experiences.
It is less about the knowledge, and much more about skills, attitudes and human connections. It is the very reason for international exchange programs. Placing students outside their comfort zone in foreign environments is bringing international and intercultural competences to them.
And now, with platforms like Somnium Space, a form of virtual mobility that will go beyond classrooms and curriculums is within reach. Virtual mobility, limited to the classroom, is nothing like learning how to survive abroad and making new human connections. But Somnium Space, built on top of decentralization technology, is like a new country. With it comes a great opportunity for everyone, including international students, to connect and collaborate with peers in other countries, work together, solve problems and shape a culture that offers new opportunities for development and success.
Education in Somnium Space will transcend online courses in a fundamental and spectacular way and the potential impact of it should not be underestimated. It would produce a new breed of self-confident, open and caring professionals.
One can argue that physical exchange programs are superior, but only a very small percentage of students spend one or more years abroad outside their own comfort zone. With Metaverse destinations like Somnium Space however, all ingredients are in place to let the majority of students experience mobility.
In a virtual world that is, but one with a potential to create a positive and everlasting impact on students.
Train station in ISG Orbital City in Somnium Space, image by itsGary
Imagine Architecture students worldwide meeting in Somnium Space to collaborate, discuss and build. And after they are done, they can go for some bowling, join a party, visit an art gallery, you name it. Connecting like this in a spatial environment is fundamentally different than connecting on Zoom.
Anyone who has tried this will understand.