Whatever stage of the year abroad you’ve reached - planning, settling in or facing finals - now is the time to get involved in social media! There is a plethora of sites and apps, rich for year abroad picking, to help you decide, master and make the most of your shenanigans abroad! Here’s our ‘how to’ guide regarding social media and the year abroad...
Choose your destination Find out where to go by reading up on past year abroad exploits, thanks to TYA’s Been There Done That case studies, create a Twitter account and follow your university’s Twitter updates. Follow us for more up-to-date info @thirdyearabroad, from where to go to what to do when you’re out there. Finding cheap flights can be a bit tricky, but with the help of Kayak's brilliant app, you can find a cheap seat in no time. Plan your travels thanks to TripIt, giving you the chance to create itineraries on the move. Most year abroad students have chosen to set up a blog or a Tumblr account for their time away - why not have a read through our best picks to help you decide. You could also scour YouTube for fun videos and channels created by year abroaders, such as Laurbubble’s.
Start Preparing As you’re preparing for your time away, it might be helpful to find a community of like-minded students to share your thoughts, apprehensions and general excitement. Apart from TYA (of course!), you could try out The Student Room and Lonely Planet for helpful posts and forum entries. If you fancy yourself as a writer, why not blog about how you’re preparing and what you get up to using blogging platforms like Blogger and Wordpress. If you want a good balance of pictures vs content, you could try the microblogging site, Tumblr. Check out our Top of the Blogs for inspiration. On these blogging networks, you’ll be able to follow other students as well as your favourite blogs as you go. On Twitter, you can follow our List of Year Abroaders, packed with students just like you! Search our site to find users who are planning on heading out to the same destination as you, or those who’ve been through it all by signing up.
When you arrive Join sites such as Couchsurfing.org, ThirdYearAbroad.com and Facebook groups to meet fellow year abroaders, past and present. Why not take a look at our list of top online resources for year abroad students and learn how to document your year abroad, via the magic of the internet!
While you’re there As you’re going through pictures of your time away, you could stick them together to make a stop-motion video, posting them on either YouTube or Vimeo, and your blog for the world (or just your mates) to see! As time goes by, you’ll be preparing for your Year Abroad Project or dissertation; and there’s no better way to research than with these fun apps. Find fun things to do abroad thanks to Joobili and get your new friends to tag along for the ride. Be inspired by local cuisine and let other foodies know thanks to FoodSpotting and Zagat. Find your local hotspots abroad thanks to Sutromedia’s city apps.
When you’re back As you come back from your year abroad, your first port of call will be adjusting to uni and maintaining your language skills. Language apps are a must: download WordReference straight to your phone and take your pick from these. Join LiveMocha to practice your skills online and get chinwagging!
Jobs and Careers Social media is very important for job hunting - by simply creating an account on social platforms, you’ll get the chance to interact and view job postings as they happen. Even if you don’t use it yourself, studies have shown that 35% of employers eliminate applicants based on what they discover online. Make sure your profile is a reflection of your skills and professional attributes, as well as your personality. Set up an account on LinkedIn and download the app straight to your phone to hear about jobs, follow companies' updates and link up with your new contacts. Another good option is Brave New Talent - create your profile in less than 5 minutes and explore the job market online, from SMEs to smaller companies and startups. MonsterJobs is also a good choice, again with an app ready to download. Create an online CV or better still, an online portfolio to showcase what you’re about. Sign up for Google Alerts, getting the latest jobs straight to your inbox. Use your Facebook and Twitter accounts to follow job boards such as Inspiring Interns and @Enternships, and also companies you'd like to work for, to create a network of people, products and services that reflect and complement your hobbies and ambitions.