How to Turn the #WHTravelBloggers Summit Into Positive Mojo for Study Abroad

Screenshot-2014-12-12-17.04.10.png

I'm trying something new. Typically, I have some thoughts about things happening in the study abroad world, I write a few thoughts in Evernote for myself to write a blog post about the topic later, but then life happens...and that post gathers dust, never to be seen again. Sad panda.

But this week after reading so many interesting reflections from some travel blogger friends about their experiences at the White House Travel Bloggers Summit (#WHTravelBloggers), I knew I wanted to get some dialogue going (and sadly Secuss-L isn't really made for a good back and forth discussion).

So instead of taking some notes, I recorded a quick and dirty video to get our creative, critical, and reflective juices flowing.

A big question that came up for me was "hmmmm...did these travel bloggers always have the cultural savvy, appreciation, and understanding they have now? Were they born this way? Have they always had this very focused and well-developed understanding of their own identities and place in the world?"

I'm guessing no. I'm guessing many of them had a kick ass study abroad advisor. :) #justsayin

Or if they never studied abroad, they had a few international experiences that primed them, that forced them out of their comfort zone to start grappling with the bigger intellectual, intercultural, and self-reflective questions that we so desperately usher students through before, during, and after study abroad experiences.

In the study abroad world, we're not working with professional, savvy travelers (for the most part). We're working with travel amateurs who need a little more love, guidance, support, and dare I say, a kick in the pants from time to time.

Of course, one critical thing to remember is that: study abroad isn't supposed to be just a "travel experience." It's an academic experience as well.

And I know we have and need some badass study abroad pros thinking bigger, with innovative ideas, and with an attitude of "yes and..."  if we're going to help usher in the next generation of galavanting travel bloggers.

But that's just my two cents. I'd love to hear yours! Let's get a little dialogue going. What did you think of the Summit? On point or hit the mark? A very small (maybe 3) group of international educators were invited to the summit, yet they didn't have a chance to speak on the subjects. Good, bad, who cares?

Do you think initiatives like this actually result in positive outcomes and deliverables or do you think they serve more as a "branding" or "awareness-raising" campaign about study abroad?

Leave your comments below - would love to chat with you!

Happy weekend!