Travel Writing Program
Create an international blog while abroad and share your journey and experiences through the WWU Education Abroad Travel Writing Program!
Designed for students to respond to prompts, reflect, and document their international education experience, before, during, and after! A great way to feature your experience for future interviews, to enhance your resume with writing experience, and to reflect, process, and share your experience abroad with others!
Setting Up Your Blog
Choose a free website that will provide a space for your blog. Here are a few popular options: WordPress, Weebly, Blogger, Tumblr, Blog. WordPress is a free and open-source tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL Database. Western’s WordPress is hosted by CampusPress, an Edublogs company. You can create your own site at our WordPress Self-Service page.
Next, think about how often you want to blog: some people write daily, while others write after big events or every couple of weeks.
How it Works
EdAbroad has provided prompts and topics for you to explore and respond to throughout your international experience. As long as you address elements of each prompt, you can feel free to add them to other creative aspects of your program that you decide to include within your own blog.
What You Gain
Upon completion, students that submit entries for all prompts (Pre-Departure, Arrival, Mid-Program, End of Program, and Post Program) within their cycle will receive a Certificate of Completion for the WWU Education Abroad Travel Writing Program to be featured with professional documents and highlighted within your professional resume. Written submissions that meet our Writer’s Guidelines (see below) may be selected and potentially featured on our website, social media, and/or potentially other campus wide publications!
Submitting Your Entries
Once you have completed your entry, complete the form below and in the drop down, indicate the blog post type. EdAbroad will review submissions and feature various stories that meet our Writer’s Guidelines (see below) on our website, social media like Facebook and Instagram, and to be used as an office resource.
Pre-Departure: What are your goals for your international experience?
- What do you hope to gain and how much research have you done on your host country and culture that will better prepare you for this experience?
- What are you most excited about? What are you most scared or nervous about?
- What strategies have you implemented that will allow you to overcome these challenges and take full advantage of your opportunities?
Arrival: Host Country & Cultural Immersion
- What are your favorite things about your host location thus far?
- Tell us about the university, academic experience, the classes, student life, and clubs or activities you are involved with? How are the locals, are there any differences or similarities that have surprised you based on your expectations?
- Did you experience culture shock when you arrived in your host country? How did your expectations about your experience compare with the reality of your day to day life? Is there anything you wish you would have done or researched more to better prepare you for your experience?
Mid Program: “A day in the life”
- Describe the neighborhood where you live, the sights, sounds, and smells and what makes this location unique. Describe a typical day for you or your favorite locations, hot spots, and places for meeting and socializing with new people.
- What has surprised you most about your experience thus far? In looking back at the goals you set out for yourself at the beginning of your program, tell us how this is going for you?
- Have you identified strategies or aspects of your program or host culture that provide a better access and insight into community engagement? Do you have advice for others interested in studying abroad?
End of Program: Preparing for Re-Entry & Maintaining your International Connections
- What have you missed most about the United States? What will you miss about your host country when your return?
- Do you think you’ll experience reverse culture shock when you return? Do you have a plan for how you can immerse back into home campus life and share your experience with family and friends?
- How do you plan to keep your study abroad experience as a key factor in your life; maintaining friendships, language skills, staying internationally engaged?
Post Program: Study Abroad Takeaways, Reflections on Identity and your International Experience
- What were some of your biggest takeaways from your international experience?
- What advice would you pass along to other interested students considering studying abroad?
- Is there anything you would do or plan differently based on your experience?
- Have you considered going abroad again or researching international internships and careers?
- How do you plan to “pay it forward” to the greater local community?
- In reflection of your experience before, during, and after your program, can you put into words what this experience has meant to you?
- We have multiple identities that cross the boundaries of race, gender, sexuality, class, age, ethnicity, religion, ability, veteran status, citizenship, and more. Describe your experience exploring identity in your host community.
- Did you study in a host country where you felt or had more or less freedom as a person of your identity/ies? What has this experience been like?
- If you studied in a country where you reconnected with your heritage, what was that like? Is it what you expected? How were you treated by locals in that country? Do you feel like it was a homecoming or did you feel out of place, or perhaps both?
- If you studied abroad and spent time with other US students who were also studying abroad, were you experiencing anything unanticipated related to your identity/ies?
- This may be the first time you lived abroad as a guest in another country—a country for which you may or may not have citizenship. How did it feel to be “the foreigner”? If you hold US citizenship, did you observe that your citizenship is treated differently than others?
Optional: Study Abroad & Coping with the Impacts of COVID-19
Share your experiences in learning of COVID-19, and the events and decision making that followed within your experience.
If you were already abroad, how did you feel about evacuating? How much time did you have? What was it like to get a flight and fly home? Were you required to quarantine once you got home?
If you stayed abroad, what was it like to petition to stay abroad and make the decision to stay? How has the pandemic continued to unfold in your host country? Was social isolation or a quarantine put into place in your host country?
If you have not yet left for your study abroad experience, how this impacted your planning and goals?
What was that moment like in realizing this virus was going to affect your experience? How did your host university or provider program respond, if applicable? How did your support network (family, friends, mentors in your life) respond, if applicable? How did you feel about it? Have your feelings evolved?
Coping: What are some strategies or factors that have aided you during this experience?
What resources or support have you had access to during these times of stress (or lack thereof)?
What activities, hobbies, experiences, or technology have you employed to assist you during this time?
What could you/have you done to maintain your connections to people and things that may add to this support during this pandemic?
What are you doing to manage your emotional state?
Reflection: What has changed in your day-to-day (personal or academic) life considering the impacts of COVID-19? Which aspects (if any)
have caused the greatest uncertainty?
have led to the most distress?
have maintained consistent?
have remained positive?
have provided a support for you during this experience?
Perspective: What are you learning and how might you integrate this new learning and related perspectives gained into your life moving forward?
What are you learning about yourself as a result of the coronavirus-related shifts in your life? How have you come to learn these things?
What are you learning about other people (both close others and not-so-close others) as a result of our present situation? How have you come to learn these things?
What are you learning about institutions (colleges & universities, the government, etc.) related to these shifts?
What are you learning about your home, local, and global communities?
Documentation: You are invited and encouraged to share visual and /or interactive media that documents your observations or experiences in reference to COVID-19, this can include:
Artwork – Painting, Sketches, Drawings or other Media
Inclusions of commentary and/or descriptions/captions are also welcome!
- Must follow WWU Best Practices for Social Media guidelines.
- Use practical information gained from first-hand experience.
- Students should immerse themselves abroad while respecting the culture and customs of the people whose countries (homes) are being visited (while preferably spending money which benefits the local economies directly).
- Use appropriate language: Writers should use standard English and follow established rules of grammar, as well as embody a level of formality appropriate for your audience. The use of profanity will not be tolerated, and writers should avoid biased or derogatory comments, including slang, or jargon.
- Content must be information-based. Readers are unable to check all sources, so current and accurate information is essential. Try to approach travel writing as an engaged journalist wishing to share important and exciting information with others.
- Students are encouraged to include photos, videos, and graphics within their submissions: Multimedia is becoming increasingly expected by all those who read about anything related to travel and study abroad, as it is an effective way of engagement. The more powerful and immersive the photos you include, the more the reader will get a sense of place, people, and culture.
- IMPORTANT: Photo Release & Permission – for all WWU students appearing in photographs
You must have verbal or written consent to submit photos, and can provide written statements of approval from other WWU students, (if present in the submitted photos) upon request if necessary. You must grant Education Abroad (EdAbroad) permission to use your likeness in a photograph in any and all of its publications, including websites, without payment or any other consideration.
You must irrevocably authorize EdAbroad to edit, alter, copy, exhibit, publish or distribute your blog for purposes of publicizing EdAbroad programs or for any other lawful purpose. In addition, I waive the right to inspect or approve the finished product, including written or electronic copy, wherein my likeness appears. Additionally, I waive any right to royalties or other compensation arising or related to the use of the blog or photograph.
You must hold harmless and release and forever discharge EdAbroad from all claims, demands, and causes of action which I, my heirs, representatives, executors, administrators, or any other persons acting on my behalf or on behalf of my estate have or may have by reason of this authorization.
You must be 18 years of age or older and competent to contract in your own name.
- IMPORTANT: Photo Release & Permission – for all WWU students appearing in photographs
If you are still not convinced that a blog is the right choice for you, then we encourage you to keep a private journal. A written collection of your experiences can be incredibly valuable to you down the road and benefit you in professional job seeking and interviews.