What to do with all those Study Abroad photos
My name is Riley Kieffer. I studied abroad a few years ago in Dublin, Ireland. While I was abroad, I traveled to nine different countries (including my host country). I took thousands of photos, and that is no exaggeration. I also kept my ticket stubs from places I visited and got bookmarks and postcards from each place as souvenirs. I posted some of my photos to Instagram and it was a great way to share my experiences with friends and family. But after a while, I had shown pretty much everyone I knew all my photos, so eventually they were left just sitting on my phone collecting metaphorical dust. It’s great to have all of these photos to look back on when I am nostalgic, bored, or on a long car ride, but those 5 months were so important to me and they impacted who I am today; I couldn’t just leave all those photos and memories behind to only look at occasionally.
Create a Scrapbook! It was summer so I didn’t have classes to worry about and I was bored. I went to the store and picked up a 3-inch binder, cardstock, and plastic sleeves. Then I went through all my photos and picked out my favorite ones to print out, luckily when you print more than 75 photos at a time, you get a good discount. Now that I had all the supplies, I got to work and made a scrapbook of all my pictures, ticket stubs, postcards and bookmarks plus a quick note next to each one about where I was and what I did.
"It was so much fun making this scrapbook and I loved reminiscing about what I did during my travels. It made me appreciate my study abroad experience even more."
Now I can go through this scrapbook when I’m nostalgic or bored. I love my scrapbook but again after a while, I got busy with school and didn’t have a lot of time to appreciate it.
Make Coasters! After the Coronavirus pandemic hit and it felt like I had watched every show on Netflix and walked around my neighborhood a thousand times, I needed something to do, so I started crafting. A few years ago, I had an idea for a project that required a square board that had 9 wooden tiles. Unfortunately, right after I got this board and tiles I got really busy and didn’t have time to work on my project. My quarantine boredom gave me a great idea! Once I graduate, I’m most likely going to be moving into a new apartment and what apartment is complete without a set of coasters? The tiles I had are the perfect size, so I decided to pick out my favorite pictures from each of the 9 countries I went to and I am painting these pictures onto the tiles. I have included the pictures below for anyone who is curious. So far, I have started sketching the outlines of the pictures and once I am done, I’ll begin painting them. Then, I’ll finish it off with a topcoat and I’ll have a nice, new set of coasters. Every time I use them, I will remember my great study abroad experience.
Coaster in Progress
Anyone can do this. Seriously, I’m no artist but I’m still doing it and so far, they look pretty good. It’s also a great way to relax and take a break from the day-to-day stressors of life. Plus, if we are ever in lockdown again (and hopefully the state of the world continues to improve and we don’t get stuck in another lockdown) it is a great way to cure boredom. Just put on some good music (I like to listen to the playlist I listened to during my travels) and get to work.
"I highly encourage everyone to incorporate your photos from studying abroad in your home decor, whether it be hanging up the pictures you took, making coasters or paintings from your pictures, having them printed onto blankets, or other creative ideas."
The possibilities are endless. Get creative and have fun with it; appreciate the opportunities you have had and the memories you made.
Riley Kieffer is Applied Mathematics major in the College of Science and studied at University College Dublin in Ireland in spring 2019.