Going abroad for any space of time can be as overwhelming as it is enriching sometimes. New cultures, tastes, and sensations assault us, and it can be hard to take stock until you’re back home carefully choosing which photos to upload to Facebook. Reflecting on your experience for the first time once you’ve returned home can mean you miss out on some of the ‘Eureka!’ moments travel offers. For instance, forgetting you were homesick at the start of your year abroad can mean that you forget how you got over homesickness, and how cool it is that you could.
Whether you’re studying abroad for a semester, a year, or four years, it’s important to reflect as you go, rather than only when your (current) adventure is coming to a close.
In order to capture your own personal story from your time abroad, and really get the most out of it, we’ve put together a list of brilliant online tools that can help you.
1 Second Everyday
For those of you who prefer the visual to the written account, 1 Second Everyday is perfect. You film one second every day for however long you are spending abroad (you can set the timeframe). At the end, a beautiful timelapse-style video is put together for you to keep / share / remember as you see fit.
The world is full of stunning destinations, and stunning stories from fellow travellers. Maptia is a beautiful way to capture and share your experiences. On Maptia you can share stories about the places you’ve been to or come from, or really any place that’s meaningful to you. The layout is gorgeous, and some of the stories already captured will give you itchy feet!
This is a completely private method of reflection, perfect for anyone who would find the daily prospect of writing a diary or a blog a little too structured. OhLife send you an email (you can choose how regularly) asking you some simple questions, like how are you feeling? What’s new? And you simply reply to the email. Your response goes into a temporary vault, and after a while you will start to receive older emails from Yesterday You (it’s all very Marty McFly…). The beauty of OhLife is in seeing how far you’ve come. You’ll be surprised at what seemed scary or nerve-wracking to you in the past, and comforted by how you’re coping with new challenges. Think of this one as writing letters to yourself! OhLife’s basic package is completely free, and includes all that you would likely need to reflect.
Your Six Word Memoir
Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a full story in only six words. His response was “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Six-word memoirs have become a popular way to succinctly tell your story, or to inspire conversation or debate. It’s also a great way to break the ice. This one’s great to play around with.
You answer one question per day in your own private 10Q space. You can make your answers silly, salacious, sarcastic – whatever you wish, it’s your 10Q. When you’re finished answering, hit the ‘magic button’ and your answers get sent securely to 10Q where they’re held. A year later, you will be emailed your answers to see how far you’ve come since last year.
Have a play around with all of these tools, choose your favourite and get going!