Everyone says that studying abroad is an unforgettable experience. Taking great photos or getting quality souvenirs can really help you remember your last-minute weekend trips more easily years down the line. Rather than coming home with the same postcard pictures as everyone else, however, check out some of these tips for making more personalized mementos.
Save your Snapchats.
Don’t underestimate those 10-second videos. If you save them, you can compile them into a longer movie when you get home. Even though some events or places may seem more important than others, all the random and funny moments that happen with your friends in your regular pub or on your daily commute to class are the moments that make studying abroad such an incredible experience. Watching a movie of the adventures that you had will mean so much more four months later, when you’re back in Main Stacks.
Trust strangers (to an extent).
Even if you’re camera shy, you may find you appreciate having photos of yourself when your abroad experience is over, instead of an album of just monuments and cityscapes. To avoid selfies, enlist the help of strangers — you may be surprised by the photographical skill of the random tourist hanging around the same monument as you. And if that stranger happens to surprise you by taking a selfie on your phone, that photo might just become one of your favorite memories. Be cautious about who you hand your camera or phone to, though — a stolen phone can really ruin a weekend trip.
Bring back unconventional souvenirs.
Not all souvenirs need to be bought in a souvenir shop. While the occasional snow globe is a great gift, you might want to bring back something more personal to remember your trips. Try saving your metro tickets or museum guide books from the different cities you visit. At the end of the semester, you will have a personalized collection of all the places you went, which you can later craft into collages for your apartment walls.
Yes, pictures are a frozen moment in time, but that doesn’t mean you have to freeze your personality to take them. Be natural and smile because you’re happy. If you’re traveling in a group, consider appointing a designated photographer (or take turns) to capture the photo non-ops that you still want to remember, such as that time you dropped your gelato on the Spanish Steps in Rome.
Stay away from tourist hotspots.
The key to having study abroad photos that don’t look like everybody else’s is to find places that everybody else doesn’t go. This doesn’t mean that you should eschew the traditional sights, but maybe you can find your next profile picture at a more personal place. Plan your itinerary around your interests, not a generic checklist: Go to a museum if you like art or a rugby game if you like sports.
Contact Patricia Serpa at [email protected]