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Why college students should keep a journal while studying abroad

Keeping a journal while studying abroad is a great way to reminisce on your adventures. (Credit: Government of Thailand)

Keeping a journal while studying abroad is a great way to reminisce on your adventures. (Credit: Government of Thailand)

Ready for your semester away, and prepared for traveling abroad? In Ginny Gaylor’s January 10, 2014 post on Cengage Brain, she offered “Tips for traveling abroad—how to blend in,” so you know some of the dos and don’ts of foreign study. While you’re away, it’s a good idea to keep track of your experiences by writing a travel blog or diary. You may not expect to go into travel journalism after college, but there are plenty of reasons why you should keep a journal. Read on for some tips on recording your study abroad experience and some travel journal apps that will help you on the go.

Keeping a travel journal

Journaling may be a requirement of your study abroad program. It might be part of your grade. Or it may just be a way to keep memories of your experience for posterity. Lynn Hausman, a peer mentor for Academic Programs International (API), wrote her laments about not keeping a better journal during her time in Seville, Spain. In “Study abroad reflections – why you should keep a journal abroad,” posted on the API Blog March 1, 2011, Hausman wrote of her earnest intentions to record everything, and the way her efforts dropped off in her experience. Read more

Tips for traveling abroad—how to blend in.

By taking in the culture, you'll look less like a tourist when studying abroad.

By taking in the culture, you’ll look less like a tourist when studying abroad.

You’ve signed up for foreign study. While you are traveling abroad to broaden your experiences and learn, you also don’t want to stand out as a tourist. After all, part of the experience is the immersion into another culture. The more you look like you belong, the more you will probably get from the experience. So how to blend in and not scream to everyone within eyesight that you’re a tourist? Here are some tips on what to pack and how to act so you won’t get noticed.

Appearances matter

First things first—if you are walking around in a NY Yankees T-shirt and sneakers with a fanny pack on and clutching a camera, you will instantly be pegged as an American tourist. Avoid this trap by thinking ahead when you pack. James Feess blogs at The Savvy Backpacker with his suggestions in his August 4, 2013 post “Women’s European Fashion—Tips for Dressing like an European” and for guys, his August 5, 2013 post, “Fashion Advice: How to Avoid Looking Like An American Tourist in Europe.” Read more