Sometimes it seems as though everyone that studies abroad has a blog. It seems as though the Internet is full of stories from students experiencing an amazing time abroad. In preparation for our departure, we were all told to write down our experiences while studying abroad, right? I was even given a journal (actually three!), to fill with my thoughts. As a person who has never been able to consistently write in a journal or diary throughout her life, I preferred a third option. I chose to keep an ‘Abroad Bible’. It is a guide for life abroad in the city where you study abroad; a record of all of the places you went in your host city.
This idea originated from two of my roommates in Rome who hailed from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They both came to Rome with a collection of ‘Abroad Bibles’ they had received from their friends who had studied abroad before them. These guides were passed down from year to year and became a collaborative list of things to do and see in Rome. At the beginning, it helped them find the best places to eat, drink and explore in Rome. Once they felt at home, they began to add their favorite places and restaurants to the ‘bibles’.
I found this to be the best way to keep a record of my time in Italy. I knew I could easily continue this type of reflection throughout the entire semester and it would help me reminisce once I returned to the United States. Anyone interested in creating their own ‘abroad bible’ can easily start by creating a word document on their computer or simply start in a notebook! Once a week, take some time to think back on the places you ate, drank or explored in the past week. Add each restaurant, club, bar, touristy destination, park, or store to the list that you would recommend to a friend. Write the address and a short description to help you remember where the place was located and why you loved it so much. It is that simple!
‘Abroad bibles’ are for everyone because they do not take a huge time commitment but help you remember all of your amazing experiences. It is as simple as a list of the places you went and enjoyed! If you are a journaler, you can also add this at the end of your reflection entries.
Mariah Minichello, University of South Carolina
I spent the spring semester of my junior year in Rome, Italy studying at John Cabot University. While there, I spent my days wandering the streets of Rome, eating the most delicious food, and experiencing the history that surrounded me. I traveled to eight different countries but that was only the beginning of a lifelong adventure around the world. My study abroad experience was made extra special by the on-site SAI staff who helped me every step of the way, from booking train trips to taking me to the doctor. I am forever thankful that I had the opportunity to study abroad and to live in Rome for four months of my life.