If you’re about to study abroad, first of all, Congratulations! I am jealous of you! Second of all, you should be creating a study abroad blog. This post includes your study abroad blog anatomy checklist and suggestions for which resources to use for your blog.
A study abroad blog is typically thought of as a blog that posts photos and articles about your time there. It shows your weekend trips, your new friends, and might records the lessons you learn along the way. This style of study abroad blog is great for sharing your time with friends and family without having to write every single one of them individual updates. It also leaves you with a beautiful online scrapbook of your semester. But, I’m going to challenge you to take your study abroad blog to a new level.
Psst: For a step-by-step guide to setting up your own website or blog in 20 minutes, click here.
Blog with intention
What the noodles does that mean? Glad you asked! Blogging with intention is blogging to address and/or observe an issue. In the business world of blogging, bloggers make money by providing services or products to customers and solving problems. You’re not blogging to make money (maybe not yet!), but you’re blogging to address a problem. Think of this as an addition to your professional portfolio. Choose something important to you that you see in your host country and focus your blog on that.
Study abroad blog example
Here’re some examples of a standard study blog versus an intentional study abroad blog:
Abroad in Italy
Standard: My blog of the European cities I visit!
Intentional: My observations of the immigration crisis and its effect on Italian culture.
Abroad in Costa Rica
Standard: My extreme adventures.
Intentional: Photos and posts on how Costa Rica is handling climate change and climate change’s effect on Costa Rica’s economy and culture.
Abroad in Norway
Standard: Journies through the beauty of Scandinavia.
Intentional: Observations of gender equality and the world’s most socialist region.
Abroad in Japan
Standard: Learning more about Japan as I learn Japanese and see the culture through the language.
Intentional: Living somewhere my country was once at war with; living in a powerful country that does not have nuclear power.
You get the picture. You can choose something that you care about or that you want to build upon in your career and write about the state of that in your host country. This is a smart thing to do for yourself, you’ll learn much more about the country, and you will thank yourself.
Benefits of this study abroad blog
This may sound all great in theory, but it also may sound like two other things: time-consuming and perhaps sad (depending on your topic). I don’t deny that either of those may indeed be the case. But, I argue that the benefits of this sort of study abroad blog far outweigh those cons. Here are the reasons this study abroad blog will all sorts of rock your world:
You’ll learn so much about the culture of your host country.
When you first get to a country, it’s natural to run around with rose colored glasses. The country is probably great, don’t get me wrong. But, your study abroad experience is usually at least partially great because you are, well, studying abroad. You have new friends, more freedom, and less stress than you had at home; that’d be great anywhere! That’s not specific to the culture of your country. It’s important to separate what you’re experiencing as an exchange student versus what you’re experiencing in that country. If you’re observing with a specific purpose in mind, you’re going to pick up on more of the true culture and lifestyle of that country. You owe it to yourself to learn as much about the culture as you can! Don’t waste your time abroad.
You’ll expand your knowledge on a topic you care about.
If you chose to blog about a topic in the country that relates to your major and/or career field (a great idea!), you’ll learn new perspectives on this topic. It’s one thing to learn about an issue in a classroom. But, to see it first hand and to see how it effects the rest of the society as a whole is a new experience. For instance, I studied abroad in Costa Rica in college. I minored in environmental biology, which is why I was interested in Costa Rica (and it was as amazing as it sounds!). I knew quite a bit about climate change and environmental science from classes. But seeing how Costa Rica was dealing with climate change socially, politically, and economically was a whole new lesson. It is those sorts of insights that will set you ahead when you embark onto your career. Actively learning these effects is invaluable.
You’ll build your personal portfolio
This blog can become a platform for you to leverage your career and travel interests. If you take it seriously, you can add it to your LinkedIn, business cards, and resume (and I suggest you do!). It will reflect your writing skills, the initiative you take to pursue something you’re interested in, and show that you have a grasp on a specific subject matter. It also can (and likely will!) connect you with other bloggers who are interested in the same topics and issues. That’s networking gold right there. There are so many opportunities this blog could make for you that we can’t even imagine yet.
Ready, set, blog!
I hope that you’re sufficiently convinced that this type of study abroad blog is right for you. To start a blog, you need a domain and host website. This post comes with types of blogging platforms and the benefits of each and the price, so you can decide which one is best for you. Sign up below, and it’s yours! In fact, you’ll get access to my entire Study Abroad Resource Library with tons of helpful tips on study abroad and travel.