A Hole in the Conversation
There are thousands (potentially, millions) of study abroad blogs out there. They range from good writing to bad, from thoughtfully designed to basic Blogger themes, and from thoughtful insights to catalogs of pretty pictures. However, most of those study abroad blogs focus only on preparing for and living abroad. While there are a few articles on reverse-culture-shock from study abroad organizations or the tail-end of student blogs, there is a distinct lack of resources on transitioning home when compared to the abundance of writing on studying abroad. However, I believe that reverse culture-shock and difficult transitions home are becoming increasingly relevant, as reflected by growing collections of resources on sites like studyabroad.com and programs at our own Dickinson Wellness Center.
Filling the Gap
With my blog, I want to tell the missing story of what happens after studying abroad. When I returned home, I expected everything to feel like slipping on a well-worn pair of shoes, but instead it felt like breaking in brand new Converse (extremely painful, lots of blisters on my toes). While I am sure I will not be able to resist using this blog as a
captive audience happy outlet for some nostalgic #throwback posts, I plan to write mostly about my current experience re-discovering my place at Dickinson. My overall goal is for this blog to be a resource to future students returning home from abroad.
As an avid amateur photographer, I also hope to combine visual imagery and writing. Using photography will also help me integrate into the study abroad community, which is hugely focused on use of visual imagery. I will be drawing visual inspiration from travel blogs like Roads and Kingdoms and The Lonely Planet. I especially like The Lonely Planet’s use of visual categories on their home page and their balance of different styles of text and links. A more extreme, but beautiful version of the photography-centric blog is iFly50. While I do not know that my topic lends myself to quite this much image-centric blogging, I love the way that their design allows photos to speak for themselves.
I will obviously combine this imagery with lengthier posts, according to the mission of this class. I like this study abroad blog (for its combination of photography, creative writing, and lengthy posts. I also think that Madison does a great job holding her readers’ attention through lengthy, often deeply introspective travel posts.