Keeping track of your study abroad experience

One thing that many students who return from study abroad experiences can agree on is that the experience goes so fast, and that sometimes it was hard to take it all in. We’ve collected tips from students on some of the best ways you can keep track of your experiences studying abroad. We hope to see some of the ways you plan to document your experiences!

1. Write a blog

We might be biased here, but we think that reflection through writing about your experiences is a great way to keep track of the things you’ve done abroad. Not only is a blog a great way to collect memories, but it can also be used as a communication line to friends, family or anyone else you feel will benefit from hearing about your experiences. Equally, you can keep this form of writing private or anonymous if you’d keep your online presence minimal.

Whether you want to start your own blogging platform that you post on, or you’d like to contribute to another platform (have we mentioned we LOVE it when students send us their posts?), you will find that a blog is a great thing to put on your CV. Include a short link to some of your writing to provide evidence that you are creative, a good communicator, good with technology and had a great experience that other candidates probably didn’t have.

Blogs can also be themed, include many different mediums, and be an all around fun way to fill in the moments in between the adventures.

2. Document through pictures

Taking pictures may not be an innovative idea, we understand that, but it’s the greatest way of quickly snapping some memories, taking pictures of yourself and friends, and highlighting the moments you don’t want to forget. There are so many places you can store these memories too! Social media gives us access to many tools that can help you mark locations, write captions, and share photos with others; the internet also has methods of private storage that can help keep those memories for yourself too!

Another great way to document your time abroad is to set up a themed social media account. You might want to document food, take great travel pictures or find a very specific niche of pictures. What do we mean by the last one? Well, some examples from students in the past have included taking pictures of domes on buildings, interesting plumbing and accounts entirely dedicated to the animals spotted on their study abroad experience.

So, whether you are planning to become the next big influencer or you’re just looking for some cracking pictures for your photo album, don’t forget to save those memories in a picture.

3. Make videos

You don’t need amazing editing skills or a high tech camera to document through videos. Yes, pictures might be easier and quicker, but there are some moments a picture just can’t capture. The way your friends laugh or the sounds of the city at night are something you might want to remember forever, and a video allows you to collect and keep these moments safe.

4. Journal

If there are a few more private thoughts, feelings and memories you’d like to reflect on, a journal is a great way to keep them safe. Keeping track of your year abroad doesn’t have to be something you do online in a public forum- or maybe there are bits you want to share and other things you don’t? Journaling is a great way to hold the things close to you that you want to remember, but may not need everyone else to know about too. Journaling can be done with a notebook and pen, in your notes app or a word document on your laptop, so it’s an easily transportable way to quickly note down reflections you have at any given moment.

5. Start a scrap book

Chances are, you’ll end up with a lot of bits of paper, photos and scraps of writing of all the memories you collect. The best way to visually sort these things out? Make a big scrap book that you can look back on in years to come! It’s a great way to show your family and friends what you got up to and it’s a relaxing activity to wind down to after a big adventure.

6. Use your reflection pieces to keep track of experiences

Many universities ask students to do some sort of reflection throughout their time abroad, so why not make the most of your assignments by using it to track your experiences? You’re going to have to get it done anyway, and if none of the other ideas on this list take your fancy then at least you have one thing to help you reflect on what an amazing adventure you are on!

7. Get creative

Painting the places you visit is a great way to get in touch with your creative side, capture memories and make yourself some décor whilst practicing your skill! A small set of water colours or sketch pencils and a small pad can be carried anywhere!

Feeling musical? write a song, or compose a piece that helps you capture the feelings of your experience abroad. This is a great way to give yourself a soundtrack to listen to when you come back at any time that brings you right back to the places you went abroad when you’re missing your adventures and friends.

Writing stories, plays and poems is another way to capture you emotions, memories and places you visited. Get inspiration from the world around you and keep a pen and notepad on hand during your adventures to note down details that you’d like to include in a piece of creative writing.

8. Start a collection

Anything from pins, to coasters, to tickets can be collected- just make sure whatever you collect can fit in your suitcase on your way home!

9. Make Lists

Open the notes app on your phone and make lists of things! The countries you visit, the nationalities of people you meet, the food you try and the words you learn are all great things to make a list of whilst you are travelling. Having these lists may even remind you of memories and stories in years to come.

10. Stay in touch with people you meet

A great reason to stay in touch with the people you encounter abroad is because they might be able to remember things you don’t, or simply because there are some moments you had to be there for. Sharing your memories with someone who was there and understands exactly what you’re talking about helps so much when you are missing your time abroad, especially because, no matter how supportive they are, your friends and family may not understand your experiences as well as someone who lived them with you.

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