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:

The Education Abroad office has provided pre-determined prompts and topics for you to explore and respond to throughout your blogging 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.

Submitting your entries:

Once you have completed your entry(s), please complete the form below and in the drop down, indicate the blog post type. Our office will review submissions and feature various stories that meet our Writer’s Guidelines (see below), throughout our Western ABROAD Student Blogs, as well as other social media like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and to be used as an office resource, etc.

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 within Western ABROAD Student Blogs, social media, and/or potentially other campus wide publications!

The Prompts:

  • 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 & Post Program Reflection
    • 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.

Writer’s Guidelines:

  1. Must follow WWU Best Practices for Social Media guidelines.
  2. Use practical information gained from first-hand experience.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Side Note: *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.

 

Travel Writing Program Submissions
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