Journaling preserves in a more emotionally raw way how you are "reacting" to your daily (sometimes hourly!) challenges overseas.
Journaling focuses your "thinking" … for later use. Your reactions are spur-of-the-moment, but through journaling, you can dissect your reactions and be more prepared for similar situations in the future.
Journaling keeps you engaged with your personal growth on a consistent basis. You will be a different person in Week 8 than you were in Week 1. Journaling will prove this to you.
Journaling provides you with material for future writing (senior essays, articles, research, the Great Global Novel, etc.).
Journaling is free therapy! And, it's healthy!
Journaling (if you blog, especially) provides friends and family an opportunity to share in your amazing experiences and insights.
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"Scientists have long known the therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences. Blogs provide another convenient avenue for writing about personal experiences. Research show that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients and even speeds healing after surgery."
Intrigued? Check out the whole article: Scientific American: Blogging - It's good for you
Start your blog TODAY: For example, you can seed your blog now with some background information on such things as Why Am I Going Abroad? You could also begin documenting the challenges or perceived rewards of leaving Yale to have an experience abroad.
Don 't edit for ‘continuity': The most important thing about blogging or journaling is seeing your progress. Don't think you have to delete a particularly negative post because you realized later you were over-reacting to something - this realization will help you deal better with situations later on.
Don't miss a week: Ideally you will journal a little every day.
Re-read: Before starting a new entry, periodically look back at previous entries and react to those as well.
Blogging in Restrictive Countries: Connectivity and access can sometimes be spotty at best in countries that restrict internet accessibility or content. In theory, Yale's VPN service allows you to connect to the Web as if you were on campus at Yale. Even this method, however, hasn't always given students abroad 100% access 100% of the time. If for any reason you have trouble accessing your blog, you can save your thoughts in Word, for example, and wait until you have access again.
Pictures: Don't forget to include pictures! Pictures should, like your journal entries, reflect everything from whimsy to profundity.