Studying abroad is an exciting experience often filled with many firsts and memorable moments. While disconnecting and enjoying every experience to the fullest is widely suggested, it is also important to make sure you don’t make the mistake of not documenting your time abroad. It can be as simple or as complex as you like, just make sure you pick a method that you connect with on a personal level. The way you decided to document all your adventures will influence the way you remember them.
Also keep in mind that as a diverse student it is always important to recognize and engage with other underrepresented students. By documenting your time abroad you are effectively creating a resource for future students to draw from.
While there are dozens of platforms out there to help store and express memorable moments, each will be attractive to different people. To help you get started, here are five methods to document your time abroad:
Taking photos is the tried and true method of capturing memories. The photos you take abroad can be used for scrapbooks, photo books, Instagram, Facebook posts to share your experiences with friends, and your personal reflection. With the rapid advances in technology in mobile technology, you no longer need large expensive cameras and several lenses to take high quality photos. With the use of mobile phones students from all income levels can use photographs to document your time abroad.
Life abroad as a diverse student can be very stressful, as you are learning to navigate your identity in a new culture. Journaling or writing in a diary can be a great way to reflect and decompress your thoughts. This can be done daily or when something exciting happens. Looking back at a journal or diary can also make reflection more rewarding as it can be very personal. Another upside to journaling is that it is very low-tech, all you need is notebook and paper, and you can journal from anywhere, anytime.
For that those that prefer a more high-tech, public method of sharing your experiences, blogging is a great option. This is ideal in that its very flexible and can be expressed through any creative outlet of your choice. You can center your blog around stories, photography, poetry…. Literally anything that you find to be an outlet and would like to share. While internet and laptop are typically needed, blogging is still ideal as there are several cost-free platforms to use such as Blogspot, Tumblr, etc.
Collecting souvenirs can be a rewarding part of studying abroad regardless of your budget or host country. These items can range from bus/train tickets to local jewelry to sculptures and paintings. If something has an impact on your time abroad and you can bring it home, why not? Souvenirs can be used for scrapbooking, telling stories and make great gifts. Worried about having enough money to shop? There are many tips to prepare financially for your study abroad experience.
5. Make Friends
One of the most important components of studying abroad is the connections and friendships you will make. Keeping in contact with the people who made an impact on your trip. This could be fellow classmates from the U.S., local students, professors etc. With the large variety of messaging apps available internationally, maintaining these relationships should be as easy as making them!