I did not want my study abroad experience to end and I am sure many of you feel the same way. I made so many amazing memories that I was scared of losing them forever! Though it is probably inevitable, you are likely going to forget some things you wish you wouldn’t. I tried to look on the positive side of this thought: if I am able to be reminded of a memory, it is a great feeling to think “wow I totally forgot I did that, it was awesome”! If you happen to be a bit forgetful, I find it much easier to recall your experiences when something else sparks the memory for you. Taking photos is without a doubt one of the easiest ways to do this! I’m not the best photographer. I don’t take many photos in Vancouver and the only camera I own is the one on my cellphone! Nevertheless, I was a photo-maniac when I was in Seoul. I never imagined I’d be told by many of my exchange peers how they envied that I photographed so many events, including almost every meal I ate there for a year. Fast forward 6 months; I appreciate my photos and the little ‘vlogging' I did in Seoul so much more - the good ones, the blurry ones, and the ones taken by the friends who stole my phone to capture awkward selfies of themselves. The photos don’t necessarily have to be pretty and you don’t need to publicize them if you don’t want to. The photos are primarily there for you and I’m sure you’ll appreciate them a lot more in the future as well! In addition, being on exchange is the last place you need to be shy about taking a million photos, including those ‘shameless selfies’ (they totally aren’t shameless by the way). Just point and shoot! You might even discover a new love for photography. Even if photography is not your thing, that’s ok! I also loved to keep event tickets, tourist destination brochures and even transportation fare receipts. I even took photos of some of these items independently, just in case. Take a look at my photo! I was so excited to visit the Gwangmyeong Caves that I didn’t even notice I took the picture of my ticket upside down…Oops! I love mementos and keepsakes as they often have time stamps which help me piece together a cool timeline of when I did what. When I was leaving Seoul, I sorted out my keepsakes from the entire year. I kept the special tickets and cut out the titles of the tourist brochures to lighten my luggage. I took a picture of anything else I didn’t want to bring back and simply slot them away in my hard drive for that moment in the future I’ll stumble upon it again and say “wow I totally forgot I did that, it was awesome”!
By: Melinda Ng, a member of BCSA Writers in Residence team and a former #tweetsabroad scholarship winner. Melinda majors in Communications, Art, and Technology at Simon Fraser University.