Why Every Study Abroad Student Should Keep a Travel Journal

Why Every Study Abroad Student Should Keep a Travel Journal

There’s a lot of excitement surrounding learning in a foreign country, and there are several tasks that you need to complete before, during and after your journey. With so much to take care of and experience, you may forget to carve out some time to document your time overseas. For that reason, it’s a good idea to start a study abroad travel journal. Here are several reasons to make sure you keep up with your journaling while traveling abroad.

The Feeling Words Invoke Are Different

While you can always snap a few pictures of your travels overseas, those images may not carry the same memories and feelings when you look at them the same way words can when you read them. When you take out the time to write something, you’re documenting how you feel at that very moment, you put some thought into what you’re committing to the page.

How many times can you say you put thought into the pictures you snap, or are you attempting to let the subject speak for itself? Taking pictures while studying abroad is perfectly fine, but combining the image with your own words and observations truly cements the moment, allowing you to recall your time with more vivid memories rather than abstract thoughts.

You’ll Have Some Alone Time

You’re likely to be surrounded by people during your time overseas, but with study abroad journal ideas, you’ll be able to carve out some alone time for just yourself and your thoughts. Tour guides and locals will have their own opinions and observations about the culture, sights, locales, and cuisine you’re exposed to. By taking out the time to journal, you have the chance to consider and write down your own opinions and thoughts. This is important because you’ll truly be absorbing the experience and making it your own.

Writing Can Lead to Critical Thinking

By journaling, you give yourself the opportunity to think critically about what you see and observe, especially if you give yourself writing prompts every time you sit down and write. For instance, maybe one day you’ll write about something you were surprised about and another day you can write about something that baffles you about the local culture. This critical insight can make you well-rounded and cultivate cultural sensitivity, which is sure to serve you well in various areas of your life.

You Can Create a Small Scrapbook

Another reason to journal while studying abroad is that you get the chance to create a scrapbook of your adventures. You can include ticket stubs, postcards, small gifts you receive and any other trinkets that you can press between the pages of your journal. These items create tactile memories of your time and are sure to bring a smile to your face whenever you look at them. Imagine cracking open your journal when you’re old and gray and having a look back at the journey your younger self went on.

You Could Stumble on a New Career

If you enjoy writing but haven’t really journaled, you could find that keeping a journal while you’re abroad could serve as the gateway to a new career as a travel writer. After all, writing articles about travel isn’t really that different from keeping a journal of your travels. Besides seeing more of the world by becoming a travel writer, you’ll get the chance to make money doing something that you actually love. Additionally, you may be able to turn some of your travel journals into books.

Start a Healthy Habit

Journaling is a healthy habit to get into. Even if you aren’t traveling, writing down your life is a good way to remember the good times, learn from the bad times and see just how far you’ve come in life. Life can become a busy rat race with a lot of distractions and obligations that fill up our time. A week can feel like a day, and a month can feel more like a week. By journaling, you can make note of day-to-day observations that can help you realize how much you’ve changed and where you may need to start making positive changes in your life. Think of journaling as an emotional and psychological checkup that helps you maximize your mental health.

If you’ve got a study abroad opportunity coming up, be sure to pack a journal. You’re sure to write your way to a better trip and maybe even a better life.

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