On Being the Ultimate Chronicler: Making Memories Last

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Studying abroad is all about exploring: exploring yourself as an individual and a young professional; exploring new places; exploring cultures and the world around you… exploring yourself within the culturally diverse world around you!  Each day abroad will bring about a multitude of memories that will forever be a part of you. However, memories fade, and as much as we’d like to be able to bottle them up in a jar and keep them precise and perfectly in-tact forever, we can’t, which is why the value of some sort of documentation throughout your study abroad trip is exponentially heightened.  Check out our list of various ways to be a top-notch chronicler on your study abroad adventure!

  • Journal.  Journaling not only allows you to document the happenings of your study abroad experience with a sense of personal intimacy, but it also gives you a space to vent, reflect, ponder, and track your developmental process throughout the journey.  It is a beautiful tool to getting thoughts and ideas off of your chest, even if you’re not quite ready to share them with the world.
  • …but maybe you are eager to share your thoughts from abroad with the world?  Start a blog!  Blogging is a handy e-version way to document your trip in both words and pictures and share it with your friends, family, and possibly even strangers who may be curious about your location, program, or studying abroad in general.  This also will prevent you from having to repeat your stories over and over again to your curious loved ones.  If they question you about what you’ve been up to, direct them to your blog!  Commonly used free and user-friendly blog hosting sites include Blogger, WordPress, and Weebly.
  • Vlog.  Video blogging or vlogging is the new version of blogging.  Grab your video camera and record yourself talking, exploring, and going about your day-to-day!  Vlogs can be easily shared for free through YouTube.  For inspiration, check out a vlog series from EIU’s very own Rachel R., who is currently studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea!
  • Intimidated by committing to a consistent, in-depth journal?  Keep a daily one-sentence journal that is manageable and allows for brief documentation of each day’s most memorable moment summarized in one simple phrase.  Even consider using an e-based version like a daily Instagram post.
  • Collect the little tangible memories from your adventures (ticket stubs, public transport cards, coins, pamphlets, maps, brochures, receipts, business cards, preserved flowers or leaves – anything your heart desires!) and compile them to create a DIY travel scrapbook, like this one here!
  • Instagram.  Whether you create a separate account for your travels or use your personal account, get creative and post photos on Instagram.  You know what they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words!

How else do you like to document your experiences?  Share them below!

Ciao for now,
EIU OSA

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[Guest Post]: We Made It

EIU student Samantha DeYoung is currently studying at University of South Wales for the spring semester. Follow her experience with her blog here.

January 3rd, 2015

After a very long two days of traveling, I am finally here! Sitting in my room watching netflix, it is raining, something I will get used to very fast here in Wales. Yesterday was definitely the longest day of my life, literally I was awake and traveling from 3pm Thursday when I left Pittsburgh until 3pm Friday when I finally arrived at the University. With two time changes, two fights, a bus, and a train, we finally made it. Our rooms are nice and have private bathrooms attached to them, our flat consists of 6 rooms that remind me of American dorms, all connected by a hallway that leads to our kitchen.

Yesterday at the airport, I was constantly looking for all of those gypsies I had been constantly warned about, and of course I didn’t see any at all! The airport atmosphere was very safe. Customs gave us all a very hard time since our course of study is only until April, but our documents say it is until June. We were met at the airport by a lady that showed us how to catch a coach to Cardiff. After arriving in Cardiff, we walked from the bus stop to the train station. From what little I saw of Cardiff, I think it will be very fun to visit and wander around down there. Everywhere we go people can’t understand us and they use words we don’t understand either. After several jokes made at our expense, the people here are beyond friendly and helpful. I have never had so many people offer to carry my bags and offer to show us where to go. People here go out of their way to help you, something very foreign to Americans!

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(Cardiff Train Station)

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(Castle on our way to the Treforest stop)

After climbing a mountain to get to the accommodations office, we were shown our rooms and could finally relax. Kait and I went into the Treforest village to buy shampoo, conditioner, water, bread, and soap for our rooms. The village is very cute and we passed a lot of small shops and restaurants. After stopping to get Chinese “Take Away” we walked over the bridge that crosses the railway and hiked back up to our rooms.

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(Our pretty campus)

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(The view from our Flat)

Everything has been very exciting so far, tomorrow we plan to go back to Cardiff to visit and to explore. We choose our classes on Monday and hopefully can start planning for all of our trips after that!

xoxo

Student Blog Spotlight: Stacy in France

We’re enjoying Stacy’s adventures in the City of Lights, la belle Paris.

There are “ah ha” moments when our students come face to face with new cultures, and new surroundings. Stacy is navigating her way through a new place and a familiar language, with her best face forward. Earlier this month she offered up a  James A. Michener quote, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”

We couldn’t agree more. Follow along on Stacy’s French adventure: http://lostinfrenchtranslation.wordpress.com/

Student Blog Spotlight: Helen & Danielle in England

Two is better than one, and a castle is better than none.

We’re following two EIU students in tandem on their tour de force of English Literary Landscapes. On this faculty-led program, the students are reading the words and walking in the steps of famous characters and authors alike. Imagine: Brontë, Wordsworth, Stoker, Coleridge .. and a castle in the background.

This is Harlaxton, through the eyes of Helen & Danielle. See more by checking out their blogs below:

* Adventures in England: http://daniellesadventures.wordpress.com/
* Living in a Castle: http://helengland.wordpress.com/

Student Blog Spotlight: Erica in Italy

How can you go wrong with a title like: Eat, Paint, Louvre?

We are loving the updates out of Italy by our Florence based student blogger, Erica. Her photos alone will convince you to book the next flight out, and after that one pizza photo … you may also be encouraged to buy some lunch. Join her on her six-week whirlwind adventure en Italia!

 

Check out Erica’s latest posts and photos here: http://ericabyoung.wordpress.com