From paper journals to Instagram to WAYN to storytelling apps, we share 15 creative ways to document your time study abroad experience!

Less than a decade ago, students would go abroad without a laptop or a smart phone. They might snap a few photos along the way with a film camera, develop them when they return to their own country and pop a few in a physical photo album (or for the more creative, a scrapbook) to share with friends and family. How times have changed…

For the sake of keepsakes and memories, do what you need to do to make the experience worthwhile. Do whatever you need and want to make your time meaningful. But ultimately, do this for yourself.

Below, we share 15 different ways you might consider documenting your time abroad:

KEEP A PAPER JOURNAL. Sit down in a coffee shop with a simple notebook and pen and let her thoughts flow alongside the caffeine. No Wi-Fi required!

USE PHONE NOTES. If you have a smart phone or a tablet, make use of the notes section or a notes app. Like a paper journal, you won’t have to rely on Wi-Fi. If you’re always on the go, you won’t need to remember your notebook either or wait until you’re home to record your memories.

START A BLOG. If you’re planning to write regularly and publically about your time abroad, a blog is an excellent option, especially if you’d like to share your adventures with your friends and family back home.

START A VLOG. If writing and photography aren’t your preferred way to communicate your stories, starting a vlog is a fantastic alternative. You don’t need fancy equipment – the video camera on your phone will do the trick and you can use simple, free programs like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker for basic editing. YouTube and Vimeo are the most popular platforms for posting and building your audience.

CREATE AN OLD-FASHIONED SCRAPBOOK. Perhaps not so practical while you’re traveling, but creating a paper scrapbook when you return home will give you time to really reflect on your experience in another way. It’s a fun and creative project for those of you who are crafty. If you’re planning to do this, you can incorporate journal entries, photographs, ticket stubs, (clean) wrappers from your favorite local treats, your class schedule, maps, etc.

POST PHOTOS AND VIDEOS ON INSTAGRAM. A carefully curated Instagram feed is a quick and easy way to capture your memories in a primarily visual way. Follow @AFSMalaysia and tag us in your photos. You can also use #AFSMalaysia. We love to interact with our students and alumni on social media!

KEEP A SKETCHBOOK. If you’re an artist or just like to doodle, capture your experience abroad in a scetchbook. You could then use your sketches in other ways by scanning or photographing them to incorporate on a blog, your Pinterest or Instagram posts, a scrapbook when you return home.

START A WAYN PROFILE. “Where Are You Now” (WAYN) has been around since 2005 and is the fastest growing travel-related social networking community website in the world with 23.1 million users at last count. You can post and rate photos, document your trips, connect with other travelers and check for reviews and tips on destinations.

SEND POSTCARDS HOME. If you’re a fan of snail mail, a different way to keep track of your memories is to send yourself postcards so they’re waiting for you when you arrive home. Choose a postcard, scribble a memory on the back and pop it in the mailbox. When you return home, they’ll be waiting for you. You can bind them together or pop them into a photo album for an instant scrapbook.

USE STORYTELLING APPS. Check out the storytelling section of our 17 Apps for Study Abroad post for more details on what you can do with these, but a few of our favorites are Steller,, Storehouse, Cameo and Travelpod.

START A COLLECTION. A clever way to tie in all of your experiences abroad is to create a collection around a common theme. The collection could be visual like images of food you’ve eaten on your travels or using a mascot to feature in your images. It could also be physical like train, bus and plane tickets or newspaper clippings of the most interesting story each day you’re overseas. Use your imagination, but think lightweight, cheap and small. These can be incorporated into your scrapbook when you return home.

USE A PHOTO SHARING SITE. If you’re not interested in blogging or social media but still want to share your photos, there’s Facebook, of course, but you can find other communities focused on photography that you can join. Curate your best shots and create albums to share. Check out Flickr or the more professional 500px.

MAKE A PHOTO BOOK. If you’re the type who prefers the pages of a book to a Kindle or a Nook, you might appreciate having a physical book about your experience printed for you to show off to your friends and family. Not everyone has time for scrapbooking, but there are tons of companies you can work with to print a book full of your photos from Shutterfly to Blurb.

CHOOSE A WEEKLY THEME. Exploring your host city? Set out a weekly theme for your social media feeds: Best parks for a walk the following? Coolest architecture after that? Then local cuisine, perhaps?

TRY LIVE VIDEO STREAMING. Have you jumped on the Twitter bandwagon yet with the live video streaming craze? Check out Meerkat and Periscope and show the world what you’re up to now.

What are your favorite ways to document your time abroad? Pop over to Twitter/Instagram and let us know: #AFSMalaysia.