A little shred of personality in our double-tap world
The idea of pen pals offers nothing but grimaces to many young people since writing letters not only is considered slightly old-fashioned, but foremost seems like a pure waste of time - at least in today's society. “Why not just send a text message or call instead?” And although this question is quite comprehensible, and indeed truly vindicated, the answer appears to be quite simple: a letter is an unique piece of art, it shows personal gratitude towards the person you're speaking with, and stands out in a world of communication predominantely characterized by electronic devices.
The concept of pen pals is building up a friendship with a stranger from another country or simply keeping contact with a friend who's personal presence is out of reach. Although many believe social media has killed off such a thing, it can be confirmed that this is just not true. There might not be many but still a good amount of people all over the world communicate this way - the way mankind did it for decades.
Having a pen pal might be an odd thing in our modern world but it does bring along several benefits in multiple areas. For instance, in certain fields of daily life and social manners. Getting to know your pen pal widens your perspective and awareness of the world, gives you the chance to gain knowledge about different lifestyles and cultures as well as to improve your writing competences, communication skills and usage of language.
Furthermore, it is one of the best feelings opening your mailbox and surprisingly finding a letter or a little package, especially besides the typical catalogues, ad flyers or bills. Therefore, having friends only met on paper adds to daily excitement of checking the mailbox.
Speaking of my own experience, I started writing letters when I was only eight years old. My cousin, who was my age and lived a few hours away from my town and I wanted to keep in mutual touch throughout the year - at least before we got to see each other again during summer time.
Years later in my early teens, I set up a profile on a website for postcards, called Postcrossing. The aim of the page is to let anyone send and receive postcards from all over the world as an enjoyable experience of connecting with the world. Thanks to the website, I made some international friends from different countries across the globe like Malaysia, China, the United States and Belarus. With most of them I am still in contact with. One of them, from the United States, has become a quite close friend of mine in the last couple of years. After keeping our pen friendship over two years I even had the chance to meet and spend some time with her in real life.
In conclusion, if you are interested in culture, open-minded, a passionate writer and want to learn about different international lifestyles, a pen friendship could be a wonderful experience for you. Adding to that, making friends can be fun and improving your language skills in this way, too.