5 Things to Do While Studying Abroad to Help Preserve Your Memories


Imagine yourself in five years, perhaps in some high-rise office building, maybe buying your first car, or maybe still traveling the world, but you’ll also be reminiscing on your study abroad experience. You are trying to remember the cute foreigner’s name you met while wandering the streets of Prague, what beach it was that you and your friends went skinny-dipping in that one night in Croatia, or maybe what ingredients were in that amazing pear pasta from your favorite restaurant in Florence. Though the memories will be set in your mind forever, some may get fuzzy over the years so you’ll want to preserve them in many ways. Here are some simple projects you can start while you’re abroad in order to keep your study abroad memories alive forever.

Create a postcard journal
Travel journals are an essential part of everyone’s travel experience. They are the best way to remember the small details about your journey. It doesn’t even have to be detailed for you – just write down points of every day you’d like to remember, or if you are somewhat of a writer, just make sure to take time out of every day and write a little summary of the events going on. A way to spice up the journal is to collect postcards from each city you visit and write your experience from the city on the back of the corresponding postcard. At the end of your journey put all of the postcards together in chronological order and hole punch them so you can tie them together and create your own personalized picture book – each page with a memory attached.

Shot glasses (1)

Start a collection
This is among the easiest ways to keep part of your travel experience with you forever because you’ll actually have a momento from each place you go (plus it makes shopping a bit more like a treasure hunt – which is pretty cool). The most common collection is shot glasses, and while it might be cliché, theydefinitely are always great conversation starters when using them at a party. You can collect anything from currency, to magnets,  or even soccer jerseys. If you decide to collect heavier items just make sure you have enough room in your luggage to bring it all home. Those overweight baggage charges can ruin anyone’s day if you aren’t prepared for them!

Write it all down 
You may remember small details of your weekend in Amsterdam a month later, but in a year, or when you graduate, or when you have kids, you won’t. Whether it be in a journal or on your study abroad blog, write down the details of each of your experiences when they are fresh in your head. It will help make your stories more interesting years down the road when you can remember the bits and pieces that made that trip so special. And years later, you’ll be able to read through all of the amazing experiences that you had while studying abroad, and that’s worth the extra time it takes to actually write about it!

Signature Pose

Have a signature photo or pose
Bring out your inner model in every city you visit. Take a picture of yourself doing one pose in every one of your adventures. Maybe it is jumping into the air, a tribute to your sorority or fraternity at home, or with a certain artifact (Flat Stanley anyone?), but whatever it is, make it memorable. When you get home you can put all of the pictures into one collage and by the time you get home, your friends might even start recognizing the pose as “your signature move.”

Make a kick-ass video
This one takes dedication, but the end result is something you can share with your friends and family. Throughout your travels, take as many random short video clips as you can. Take videos of the crazy Australians singing at the bar, of your friends dancing in the street with locals late at night (or early in the morning), or of the beautiful sunset along the sea off the coast of Africa, Ireland, or somewhere deep in southern Australia. You can use programs like iMovie, Adobe, or even download an app like Movie360. The most difficult part is finding the perfect song to go along with your experience! Here are some suggestions – I Lived by One Republic, On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons, Home by Phillip Phillips, and Wake Me Up by Avicii. Check out my own study abroad video for a bit of inspiration!

How are you preserving your study abroad memories? Are you collecting something or have a signature photo? Let us know in the comments!

Photo sources: Alyssa Baron

Alyssa is a recent graduate from the University of Florida. After studying abroad in Florence, Italy for the summer, Alyssa could not stay away from Europe so she decided to spend the year studying in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Spending the day with Alyssa includes jumping off cliffs, exploring mysterious new places, and watching the sunset along the sea. You can read about all of her adventures on her blog.

2 thoughts on “5 Things to Do While Studying Abroad to Help Preserve Your Memories

  1. Calley

    I loved this! I did a study abroad in Ireland during my first year of law school and I wish I’d kept up more in my journal. I’m definitely going to piece all my videos together like you did, however!
    And I’m hoping to do a working holiday in Ireland next year and will definitely be doing all these while I’m there and traveling. Thanks for the ideas!!!

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