What to Blog
This is your public diary of your exchange experience. This is a public letter that you will be sharing with friends, family, Rotary, and whoever else may find it in the blogosphere. If you include the option for comments or Facebook likes, your blog could could be read by almost anyone.
Our objective is that you will have WONDERFUL exchange. Your blog will probably show that. We want to share your joys, your concerns and your challenges. We want to see your new world through your eyes and words. Sharing your concerns or perhaps sorrows are also acceptable.
Whatever you write will reflect you and your family and friends. As important, it will also reflect your new friends while on exchange, your host families, Rotary Club, and country. Keep your posts respectful and positive.
Do write about:
- School – classes, subjects, tests,
- Foods – variety, good, bad, ugly, surprising
- Housing – city, country
- Transportation – cars, public transport, gas costs roads
- How you coped with the language
- New friends, parties
- Packing and Planning for the Trip
- Moves between families
- Clothing and Fashion
- Politics – Their interest in US Politics
- Host families
- Famous Sites
- Holidays, Travel, Vacations
- What you will go back to see again
An good example RYE blog – http://olivia-france.blogspot.com/
Another example of a travel blog – http://mattwicks.wordpress.com/
If you are having problems on your exchange you should be talking with your Rotary counselor and your host family and perhaps your own family. Don’t post these problems in your blog.
- Don’t whine – no one will read this – it is boring
- Don’t be disrespectful of hosts, exchange friends, family, Rotary – shows your immaturity
- Don’t post anything to embarrass anyone – shows you are insensitive
- Don’t use foul language – shows you are a bore with poor language skills
Good Blogging is Good Writing
The best writers are usually modeling good examples. Good writers are good readers! Before you go on your exchange spend some time reading other exchange blogs. See what others have done. Find something you like. See what was interesting. Then pick the best and start using that as your model.
Focus on content first. Although you experiences, challenges, and observations are similar, to many others, your experience is UNIQUE! Be sure to focus on the your experience. How did it happen? How did it feel? Were you excited? afraid? embarrassed? happy? sad? Who else was involved? How did others react? What did you expect? What actually resulted? What made the experience unique to you?
Good Blogging is Good Story Telling
Tell stories in your blog. Stories have a start, a “middle”, and a finish. They may have a moral or something learned. Good stories give good descriptions of the situation, feelings, location, the participants, and the timing. This is what makes your story interesting and unique.
If you called your parents to say:
“I had a wreck but everything is OK.” That probably would not be the finish. They would ask many questions. Was anyone injured? How are you? How do you feel? Who was involved? Who was driving? How did it happen? When? Was it snowing? Raining? Dark? How much damage? Police involved? Insurance? Where? Situation before the accident? After? Do you have photos?
You won’t have a dialogue with your blog readers so you have to anticipate what the readers would want to know.
In classic newspaper mode – you should always include the Who, What, When Where, and Why.
One simple model to telling your stories is STARS.
- Situation – the setup, what was the situation at the start of the experience
- Task – What had you planned to do, to accomplish? What happened to change your plan?
- Assessment – What happened next and how did you or others deal wit it? How did you refocus on the Task
- Result – How did it turn out? What was the final result? How did your actions affect the result?
- Summary – What did you learn? How will you deal with similar situations in the future? How did you feel? How did others react? feel?