This is the first in a series of articles about Second Life gateway communities, which were discussed in the last Second Life 101 article, Renting and Gateway Communities. Today we’ll examine four gateway communities: Virtual Holland, BeNeLux Community Gateway, 3Immersions, and Avatar Island University. One is English language, one is Chinese, one is Dutch, and one is multi-lingual.
When you land in the Virtual Holland Future Nederlandse Gateway, you are on a tiny island, surrounded by instructional signs in Dutch to help new Second Life members. Although there is nothing here for non-English speakers, it is part of a cluster of scenic Netherlands regions with names like Virtual Holland Village Noordzee and Nederland. Even though you may not understand the language, you may enjoy visiting this mini-Netherlands in Second Life.
The teleport link for new members is slurl.com/secondlife/Virtual%20Holland%20Future/176/35/21. Flying is not allowed on the island, but you can walk underwater to the adjacent islands, where flying is allowed. The picture on the right is from one of the Virtual Holland islands.
Avatar Island University is for new members only. If you’re already a Second Life member, you’ll be ejected if you try to enter. The description they give of it is:
"Make Avatar Island your first stop in Second Life. On Avatar Island you’ll find all you need to create and accessorize your avatar before heading out into SL. You can even use a photo of yourself (or anyone else!) to make a truly unique avatar!"
The setting is beautful, a collection of structures on an open sea, which you can see in this picture. I wasn’t able to enter it, however, so I can give no further personal observations.
Choose a different first name
The Benelux Community Gateway offers a comprehensive series of tutorials for new members in three languages, English, French, and Dutch. It’s open to existing Second Life members as well as new members. When you land there, you follow a series of arrows on the ground to a series of areas ringed by tutorial signs int three languages. When you get to the end of the tutorials, there is a large shopping area.
You can learn more by joining the Second Life group Benelux Community Gateway, and you can teleport there at slurl.com/secondlife/ZoHa%20Islands%20N/212/149/26. This picture shows some of the tutorial signs, and boxes of freebies.
My first visit to the 3Immersions, on the Chinese island Lenovo, conjured up unpleasant police state images when an avatar dressed in a police uniform and with "Police" in his group title ran up to me and demanded that I wait. "What kind of place is this?" I wondered, but it turned out that he had no connection with Lenovo, and just wanted to know where he could buy a gun!
Although 3Immersions is a gateway community for Chinese speakers, the primary purpose seems to be to teach the Chinese language (Mandarin) and culture to non-native speakers. I found it fascinating, and if I had the time to study Chinese, I’d sign up for classes.
You can teleport to 3Immersions at slurl.com/secondlife/Lenovo/169/207/2.