Cultural Experience | All Experiences

6 Ways to Document Your Study Abroad

Documenting your time abroad gives you something to look back on, show your friends and use to trigger memories.

Studying abroad can be one of the best times in your life, and it flies by in the blink of an eye. Before you know it you’re home again reminiscing about the climbing to the top of Notre Dame or watching a Greek sunset. So how do you make those incredible memories last? You document it.

Here are six ways to document your study abroad:

1. Take photos. This is a no-brainer, but you can never take too many photos when you’re abroad. Of course you need to make sure that you’re living your experiences authentically instead of from behind a lens, but photos are still vital while your abroad if you want to remember the little details. Want to make it unique? Use a polaroid camera.

2. Make a video documentary. Whether you use a nice camera or your iPhone, filming your trip and editing it into a video later is a great way to capture memories, and when you watch it back later you’ll transport right back those moments on film. Go simple and use iMovie to edit your footage, or if you want to go more advanced you could purchase final cut pro to really make cinematic magic.

3. Keep a journal. I was required to keep a journal on my study abroad to Italy and Greece, and now I’m so glad I have it to look back on my experience. At the end of each day you can write about what you saw, did, ate and experienced. Carry your journal around with you and jot down your ideas, what you’re learning and how the sights make you feel. When you get home and flip back through the pages you’ll not only remember everything you saw, but you’ll feel the same emotions you experienced on the other side of the world.

4. Start a blog. This is especially great if you want to share your experience with your friends and family as your abroad. Sign-up on wordpress, blogger or squarespace and just go for it! Share your photos, stories, memories and anything else you want with the people who love you back home. And like a journal, it’s great to flip through when you want to relive your study abroad. You can also submit your stories to College Tourist and create your own author,s page! Find out how here.

5. Buy postcards. When I studies abroad in Europe I bought postcards from every city I visited, and I love looking through them and remembering specific sights I loved, like the coast of Santorini or the view from the London Eye. There’s something authentic about postcards that makes them stand out from a photo I could take on my iPhone. They’re also extremely cheap and easy to carry around with you as you travel, which makes them a perfect collectible.

6. Collect a souvenir. If postcards aren’t your thing, pick another souvenir item that you could find anywhere you go. I collected prints on my study abroad to frame and hang on my wall at home, and my roommate collected coffee mugs. You want something that has a clear picture or name of the place you visited, and it needs to be easy to transport in your luggage. You also want to pick something practical that you will use in your daily life because then every time you use it you will remember your study abroad. Other ideas: shot glasses, jewelry, key chains and t-shirts.

However you choose to document your study abroad, make sure you do it in a way that will trigger memories and feelings about your time on the other side of the world when you’re back at home. Happy documenting!

Caroline Eaton

Lee University | 11 stories

Caroline is a full-time student, wanderer and writer that believes adventure can be found anywhere, whether you're on the other side of the world or in your own backyard. She celebrates all forms of travel and exploration, and dreams of writing her way across the entire earth. She blogs at thecollegecosmopolitan.com, and you can send a tweet her way at @caro_eaton.


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