study abroad with social media

By Lo Martinez, API Salamanca Peer Mentor

Sharing your experience is an important part of studying abroad. Every day you spend away from home, you will be exposed to new and exciting places, cultures, people and more. As you begin to collect stories, which capture all you have seen and felt, it is natural to want to share them.

Here is where it can get tricky! If you do desire to share these anecdotes with family and friends, conventional methods of communication can make it both a time consuming and taxing process. That is why utilizing social media while you study abroad is so great! You are able to share a variety of stories, media, and more on a grand scale in half the time.

So which study abroad social media is right for you? Well, that depends on what you hope to use it for. First, consider both:

1. Your audience

Close Family and Friends

Extended Family and Friends

All the World Wide Web!

2. What you would like to include

Long-form writing

Short-form writing

Video

Photos

Multimedia

Below are descriptions of social media tools useful for sharing your experience:

Blogs: Blogs are a great way to share long-form writing. They also allow you to share pictures and video in the same site. You are normally able to personalize your background and URL so it’s easy for your followers to find you!

Here are some popular choices for blogging abroad:

WordPress: WordPress is by far the most popular blogging site! It easy for “blogging beginners” to use and personalize, and also offers advanced options for more seasoned users.

Tumblr: This site offers a blog platform with a focus on media-rich posts. Great for study-abroaders who plan to take a lot of picture and want to write short-form, blurb-like posts to go with them.

Blogabond.com: Blogabond is a strictly “travel blog” site. It offers an opportunity to share your experiences on a grand scale and interact with people who have been to the places you’ve been to or hope to go!

The Official API Blog – Ok, shameless plug, but becoming a blogger for API, your university’s study abroad office, or another study abroad-related website is a great way to not only share your story, but also become a “published writer!” Great to add to any resume!

Other social media resources:

Facebook: Who doesn’t have a Facebook? Well, you can use yours while abroad to easily share pictures, videos, and notes with all of your friends! Facebook also has the added bonus of allowing you to connect and share with all the new friends you make while studying abroad as well.

Twitter: If you enjoy sharing in real-time, this is the social media tool for you! Utilize 140 characters to share what you’re up to, moment-to-moment abroad!

Flickr: If you enjoy photography, this is a great social media for you! Share all your pictures in one place, for a great online gallery your family and friends can enjoy.

YouTube: Budding cinematographers out there, this is a great option for you. You can put together memorable montages or share video-blogs (vlogs) to share as well!

Gowalla and FourSquare: These geo-location social media can be used alone or linked up to other sites like Facebook and Twitter. They let you update your location, post reviews and collect points and badges along the way! Gowalla even has a virtual passport you can use to track all the places you have gone (Editor’s Note: since this post was written, Gowalla has been acquired by Facebook – stay tuned for what this means!).

Take the time to pick the right sites for you! These will be the most fun for you to update and create content for along the way! Documenting your journey shouldn’t be a chore. Explore your study abroad social media options, get exciting and get going!

Lo studied with API in Salamanca, Spain during the spring of 2011. She currently attends Ohio University and is majoring in journalism.

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Comments

  1. Great informative post for those that aren’t obsessed with social media looking to get into it!

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