The Top 10 Ways to Document Your Time Abroad as a Student

May 16, 2017 1:30:00 PM / by Julie Ritz

CAPA_DanielleThai_Blogger_Shanghai.pngDanielle Thai is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A resource economics major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she is studying abroad in Shanghai this semester.

In this week's post, Danielle shows us 10 different ways to keep track of your memories abroad.


Many say other than not traveling to more places or taking full advantage of their time, they regret not documenting their experiences abroad. Having a way to capture moments or events will help you hold on to memories. It doesn't have to be time-consuming or a tedious task, but the way you decide to document your travels will be the way you look back on them. During my time abroad, a majority of experiences are brand new to me. Having an outlet where I can add my thoughts, ideas, or photographs is a way of keeping everything together. There are a variety of platforms to keep all your memories depending on what method you prefer.

Here are the top 10 ways you can document your time abroad:

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1. Photos

The most obvious way to capture moments is through photos. You do not need to a fancy DSLR camera to take good pictures; plus it is an additional thing to carry. Even a point-and-shoot compact camera takes decent pictures but it is a hassle to carry around. In this time and age, we are never without our phones, amajority of which are smartphones so the pictures are of good quality. It takes almost no effort to snap a quick photo. Create an album on your computer or laptop to hold all your photos.

2. Journal 

Whether you decide to journal at the end of each day or when something exciting occurs, a journal is a great way to reflect and jot down your thoughts. All you need is a notebook or paper and a pen. Keeping a journal is private so you can write your true feelings and thoughts down without needing to worry about others’ reactions. Writing is an art that is becoming obsolete so rereading a journal makes these moments more personal.

3. Instagram

Social media is an integral part of today’s society. Instagram is an extremely popular platform to share pictures. Accounts can be private, personal, or public. Pictures are posted about everything and anything. To document your travels, you can post a picture a day or post when you capture a memorable moment. Adding a caption also allows for commentary on the moment.

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4. Blog

I will admit that writing a blog is time-consuming and involves a good amount of discipline to keep up with. Given those factors, many are not able to keep up with it. Blogging is a way to share with the public about adventures or experiences you have. It has the ability to reach anyone who has access to Internet so a person reading your blog could be across the world!

5. Vlog

Some people would rather watch and listen to what someone experiences than reading about it. Vlogging allows viewers to see what the vlogger sees. In that way, it adds a connection between the two parties. The audience gets to experience the event at the same time the vlogger does.

6. Same Concept, Different Background Photos

Having a theme to follow at every location you visit guarantees at least one photo. For example, a photographer took a picture of his girlfriend leading him around the world. He would be holding her hand and her back would be facing the camera. The background would be changing in every photograph as they traveled. The collection of these photographs is amazing to look at as more and more are taken.

7. Create Videos

Recording moments has become more popular. Videos can capture so much more than photos can because they are long moments of the event – like someone’s reaction to their first time trying something or someone doing something funny. After a period of time, you can piece together all the footage to make a long video or short movie. A friend of mine is doing a one second video of each day for a whole year. The video does not have to prolong for a full year; it can be for the semester you are abroad.

8. Scrapbooking

Those who enjoy arts-and-crafts would most likely choose to compile their photos in a scrapbook. Scrapbooking can be as elaborate as a person wants it to be. Short blurbs or stories can accompany each photograph. Polaroids are making a comeback. Once you snap the picture, it prints out right away. So after taking a Polaroid you can easily add it to the scrapbook and write something.

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9. Shatter Box

Collecting tickets, tags, admission bracelets and other various pieces that indicate a particular place can be put into a shatter box. A shatter box is essentially a deep frame. Normal frames are only thick enough for a picture while a shatter box allows for items of wider measurements. These items can be assembled in any way and photos can be added into the box.

10. Google Latitude

Do not freak out but there is a way to track your travels. As you may all know your smartphone or computer can track your location. Little do you know that it is constant unless you configure it in your settings. Google Latitude allows you to see every journey you have made from your device. It is a great way to see where you have gone during your time abroad.

There are many ways to document your adventures abroad or when traveling – some are more time-consuming than others. Believe me, you will want to look back at the things you have done during your first time in a foreign country.

Until next time,

Thanks Danielle!

Danielle's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned!

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Topics: Shanghai, China, Practical Study Abroad Advice