For anyone still adjusting to life after studying abroad, I’m right there with you. It’s been two months since I got back from Rome, and I still can’t believe it’s over. For those of you about to go, you’ll have the time of your life, and hopefully you’ll also have a few reasons to keep writing while you’re there.
Start a bucket list. You probably won’t get to do everything you set out to do, but this is a good way to prioritize. You can start your list before you leave, but make sure to update it throughout the semester as you hear about local sites you want to check out or as you start booking other trips.
Keep a journal or a blog. Sure, it takes some time to write about all of your adventures, but it’s a good way to keep everyone back home updated without having to repeat yourself fifty times. Even if you decide not to post it online, it’ll be fun to look back on during that inevitable post-trip depression.
If you do decide to post your blog publically, keep in mind that you won’t want to share everything. There are certain stories that you just might not want your parents reading and others that your friends at home might not fully appreciate, but they’re still worth writing down. My roommates and I kept a running quote board of inside jokes and funny stories throughout the semester. We also kept track of how many times we said “When will you ever get to do (fill in exciting cultural activity) again?”
Send a postcard. I was a little hesitant to send anything through the Italian postal service, but depending on where you go, it may be fairly simple. Otherwise, you could buy the postcard there and mail it once you get home.
You can also pick one up from everywhere you go and use the back as your journal. My roommate would print out her blog posts about each trip and glue them to the postcards.
Don’t forget captions. A picture is worth a thousand words…unless no one knows what they’re looking at. Make sure you describe your photos or at least have separate Facebook albums for each trip you take. To be honest, I did a pretty bad job labelling individual photographs. It was fine for pictures of the Colosseum, but I really wished I had explained certain sites or pieces of art, even for my own memory.