If you are one of those who live for the moment and forget to take photos or buy souvenirs just to remember your adventures, you are not the only one. Even though I am one of those devoted memory-keeper, I have always struggled with planning or capturing some of the most emblematic moments of my life to have them as memories somewhere outside of my mind. So, having one Erasmus behind and a second one around the corner, I have learned my lesson from the first Erasmus experience and I am now coming more prepared with some creative ways, both physical and digital, to collect Erasmus memories and be ready to be the best grandma storyteller in the future.
The good old photographs
Do you remember when you were younger and you were spending hours looking at family albums? Old photos have a special vibe, especially when you touch the paper and you feel like this memory is alive in your hands. Nowadays, with smartphones and tablets in our hands, it doesn’t feel the same way, even though we have an endless camera roll with photos. Let’s make it a bit old-school!
If you have a camera or you are even a hobby or professional photographer, I am quite sure you will be able to capture your favourite Erasmus momenta on film. If you don’t align with this, you can always go for one of those cute Polaroid instant cameras that will shape your best moments into small photos that you can keep even in your pocket.
If you don’t have any of the devices mentioned so far, even the photos from your phone can come to life on paper if are good quality, just find the closest photo studio.
Here we are going to level up by adding not only photos but any kind of objects that may have a sentiment to you and will remind you of your Erasmus days. Train tickets, napkins from the random restaurant you visited, bills, postcards or other small things from the bottom of your bag. If you don’t mind collecting stuff and turning it into something more valuable, the memory box is just for you. Anytime you feel the Erasmus nostalgia you can find this box below your bed and commemorate these meaningful times and memories you didn’t even plan to keep.
When it comes to scrapbooks, it is all about your level of creativity. It is looking a bit like a memory box, but in a more organised way Again, you can use everything you have from Erasmus - photos and not only. The special thing about the scrapbooks is that you customise them and make them beautiful in your way. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest on how to organise your scrapbook, what to add and even if you are not that handy, you can still create a piece of art and admire it later.
For the ones who express themselves in a written form, I strongly suggest journaling your most special moments during your Erasmus. I planned to do so since day one, but somehow I was too busy experiencing it, that I forgot to write down everything I wanted to remember. Don’t take me as an example, go get one of the old notebooks or buy a fancy one that will collect all the words and emotions you will put between the lines. An extra idea is to have a small notebook for your Erasmus friends - I have seen at the end of the mobility some exchange students going around and asking people to write them some small notes, wishes and memos. I guarantee that later you will feel excitement to read what others will remember about you and the moments you shared.
I am personally embarrassed to hear my voice recorded, but many of my friends are recording themselves while studying or singing and it seems like it works. Imagine you are a podcast host and you are also your first listener and top fan. If you don’t feel like writing down, recording yourself takes less time and effort. Let’s be honest, you have already recorded numerous voice messages to tell your friends what’s going on - so you have started collecting some memories in audio format.
What about social media?
We all know that if we don’t post it on social media, it probably never happens. Well, I may be not a big fan of reporting my Erasmus journey on Instagram, but many people have succeeded in this and their accounts have become viral or useful for others. After all, one of the biggest benefits of posting our Erasmus experience on social media is to spread the word about the opportunity to study or work abroad and to inspire others to do the same. Take a look at the @erasmus.generation channel on Instagram because this is how many of us have shown what the Erasmus experience is for real.
At the end of the day, I will advise you first to live in the moment, but keep in mind these ways to keep your memories later will make your Erasmus experience last a lifetime.