When I first landed in London, I didn’t know how involved I would get with Queen Mary in general, let alone with their Global Opportunities office. Within the first two months of being in London, I got an email from the Global Opportunities office, asking if anyone currently studying abroad would be interested in getting involved with the office, and their social media account. I initially was leaning towards doing a feature on their Instagram account (give them a follow @QMULGO), but ultimately decided that I would give blogging a try. I should mention that although I’ve never tried anything like that before, I do keep a journal, which I try to update regularly so I’m not a stranger to writing about my experiences and feelings. I wrote up my first blog and the ideas didn’t stop coming. Not to mention, I had so much fun coming up with new content. Ultimately, I can’t recommend blogging, or keeping track of your study abroad adventure in some way, enough but if you might need some more convincing, here are seven reasons why you should consider sitting down at your laptop for more than just Netflix.
- It’s a chance to try something new
Studying abroad is an opportunity to not only live somewhere new, but to try a ton of new things. From food to classes to extracurriculars, studying abroad is filled with the chance to broaden your horizons (I know, that’s very “study abroad handbook” but it’s true) and what better way to do that than to go into your adventure deliberately planning on trying something new? If you’ve never blogged before, now might be the chance to start! You could set up your own blog online (there are loads of free sites) or you could join Queen Mary’s Global Opportunities Blog and write for them whenever you feel like it! You never know, one blog might turn into many!
- It’s a fun way to document your adventures
In the age of social media, it’s easy to think that all of your posts on Facebook or Instagram will suffice when it comes to documenting your time abroad, but photos don’t show the whole experience. Obviously, blog posts don’t either, but with a post, you can write about your weekend in Paris or the society you joined for the semester in a way that you can’t with a single Instagram post. Not to mention, it can be a good (and easy) way to show your parents exactly what you’ve been up to from time to time.
- A chance to reach out to others
Blog posts can also allow you to voice your thoughts about something, and give you a way to share those thoughts with others. Whether you only share your blog post on Facebook with your friends and family, or if you write for QM, someone else might benefit from reading your experiences and opinions. Whether it’s travel tips, or something that has impacted you, someone might read what you’ve written and want to know more. You never know who you might convince to study abroad, or who you might impact with your writing.
- Good on a resume and learn new skills
Regardless of what career you want to pursue, blogging will allow you to work on your creative writing, editing skills, and organization when it comes to coming up with ideas and actually implementing them into a blog post. Those skills might come in handy on a resume some day, and the incentive required to create regular blog posts is also a good skill to brag about on that CV!
- A chance to be active with the QM community
Whether you write for QM, your home institution, or for your own personal blog, you might find that blogging gets you more involved with the community. This might be through the content you create, the people you meet through your posts (on social media or in person), or the opportunities it provides you. It’s just one more way to make your study abroad experience unique and exciting.
- It might give you the chance to explore more
The best part about blogging is that you get to choose your content, how much you write, and when you post. You might find yourself actively seeking out certain parts of where you’re studying abroad to take specific photos relating to an idea you had for a blog post, which could lead you to discovering places you never knew existed! Or maybe you choose to visit the best eateries near your university. Regardless of the content you decide to create, blogging can give you an excuse to explore more and learn all about the place where you’re studying abroad if you choose to do so.
- You can write whatever you want
One of the best parts about blogging is that you are the author and the creator. Unlike papers for school, you can choose the topic, the length, and the content. You can be as personal or impersonal as you like. The world is literally your oyster when it comes to what you can write, and although the vast amount of choice may seem daunting at first, you might be surprised with how easily ideas come to you once you get started.
Regardless of how you choose to document your time abroad, I recommend you find some way to create memories of everything you do, and find a way to make your time truly memorable. Whether that is vlogging monumental events or days, downloading the one second everyday app, starting a journal specifically for your time abroad, or writing a blog, there’s nothing more fun than getting creative and trying something new (especially when you’re already trying something potentially VERY new). It’s the epitome of cheese, but your time studying abroad goes by super quickly, and there’s nothing worse than regretting having not done something, or having not documented your time enough. I definitely didn’t know how much I would enjoy blogging, but I’m very glad I got involved with it. So get out there, have fun, and write all about it!