In life, we spend time taking pictures of significant places and events such as our trip to the beach or a wedding that we went to. However, many people neglect taking pictures of everyday routines. Yet, when we revisit the pictures, it is the simple routine things we remember the most, such as that little fire truck in the picture, or that doll you used to have. When you go abroad, you will want to take pictures of the great landmarks you visit, which is something you should do, but make sure to add these to your list of photos to take as well:
One of the things my father suggested to me was taking pictures of school. It was a place I went to every day, ate at, studied in, and made great memories with the friends I met there. School was not the first place I thought of when I went around taking pictures, but after realizing that it did play a huge role in my daily life and most of the stories I was going to tell, I thought that an image would help people get more of a look into my life while I was away.
My dad went even further to say later on to take pictures of daily things, places I passed every day, whether I knew them as famous or not. Sometimes it is the small things that have the biggest impact. Personally, I am glad that I took pictures of sites and places I saw on my way to school or on my way to my host family’s house, because when the memories start to fade, I can look at these pictures and remember what the city looked like. It doesn’t just have to be places. Taking pictures of meals your host family prepared or of your host family in general is a great way to keep the memories of your study abroad time alive.
Another thing you should consider documenting are your favorite hangouts. It makes sense to take pictures of big landmarks and sites but it also makes just as much sense to take pictures of the places where you spend most of your time, whether it be studying, just hanging out, or eating. Most of the stories you will be telling will probably be about the places you were at daily with your friends.
Of course, don’t forget to still take pictures of the big things. If you go to the Eiffel Tower, take a picture of it. If you go to the Colosseum, take many pictures of it. Maybe you will go back there one day, but maybe you won’t. Get photographic proof that you were there. It’s one thing to look up a picture that someone else has taken online, but taking your own picture of the monument gives it a whole new meaning. It is special; it is personal. It will be your memory forever that you can share with others.
Some people in my program while I was in both Spain and France were really into taking pictures of everything around them. Others hardly took any pictures. Whether you are either one of those people, or in between, I would still strongly encourage you to chronicle your time abroad whether it be through photos, videos, or both. This is one of those decisions that you cannot possibly look back on and regret. Just make sure that you don’t get too wrapped up in taking pictures that you miss what is right in front of you!