If you receive a scholarship from the Office of International Programs for a semester abroad, you are required to blog three times during your study abroad experience. You must complete:
- 1 blog before you depart (see below for required prompt)
- 1 blogs while you are abroad (see below for required prompt)
- 1 blog after you have arrived back home, within two weeks (see below for required prompt)
Please note that if you do not stay on track with your blogs your scholarship will be revoked. If you are experiencing technical difficulties or are otherwise unable to upload, it is your responsibility to follow the troubleshooting guide below and/or contact the Office of International Programs.
Please categorize your blog by program!
Logging into the Blog
Instructions for logging into the blog is included below
- Navigate to the login URL: http://blogs.rollins.edu/letters/wp-admin
- Then type in your email address
- Then in the next line, enter your password, which is your Rollins ID password
- Click enter and if successful, you’ll be taken to the Dashboard
- Your username is not case-sensitive. Your password, however, is.
- If you are receiving an error that your password is incorrect but you believe it is, you will need to contact the Help Desk (contact information is provided below).
Adding New Content:
- Log in following the instructions above
- Once logged in to your Dashboard, select +New from top menu bar.
- To add a new blog post, select post from drop down menu under +New.
- To add a photo or video, select Media from the drop down menu.
- If you are on the “Letters to America” generic home page, the +New option still appears across the top of the screen as long as you are logged in, making it possible to move directly from viewing others’ blog posts to writing a new entry of your own.
- From your Dashboard (your personal home menu) a menu across the top allows you to navigate to the Letters to America blog site, see messages you have received on your profile, +New posts, and View your personal blog page.
- On the side of your Dashboard, another menu allows you to view Comments, Search Live media on the Letters to America site, and alter the Appearance of your personal blog profile.
- On the side menu, you can view other site users and view your own Profile.
- Don’t be afraid to test different options and click through different effects available on the side bar menu! If you run into any problems, contact the help desk (contact information listed below).
Help Desk Assistance
If for any reason, you’re still unable to access the site, the Help Desk is here willing to assist you.
- Phone Number: 407.628.6363
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Monday-Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Although you might be overseas, there is still available tech assistance. E-mail the Help Desk and they can schedule an online session with you at your convenience. This will only require an internet connection; so no long-distance charges for you!
Pre-departure prompt (1-2 weeks before departure) – 500 words
One of the best things you can do to begin developing the skills needed to be a global citizen is to engage in reflection about culture and identity. As you are preparing to study abroad, we want you to reflect on your own culture and identity.
- Briefly describe an aspect of U.S. culture. Remember culture includes behaviors, attitudes, and values. Try to describe it objectively – without using positive or negative language.
- Share your perspective: now you can make judgments and let us know how you feel about this aspect of U.S. culture.
- Describe how someone outside of U.S. culture would view this cultural aspect. You may need to use your imagination.
- How does this exercise help prepare you for your time abroad?
While Abroad – 300 words
Think back to “The U-Curve of Cultural Adjustment” from orientation. At this point in your time abroad, you have probably experienced some moments of Cultural Confrontation – remember these are moments when you are frustrated by the culture and/or are missing your home culture. It is completely normal to experience these moments and working through them can help you build global competence! Describe one experience of cultural confrontation BUT describe it in the most positive way possible. Focus on what you learned from the experience, or find the humor in the situation, or focus on how you managed the situation (i.e. what strategies did you use to de-stress or how did you let it go).
Returning Home (1-2 weeks after returning home) – 500 Words
The following is the required prompt for your return blog. Please post this blog within two weeks of your return home:
[Before you studied abroad, we asked you to write a blog post about U.S. culture. Go back and read your post.] Now that you have spent a full semester abroad, we want you to reflect a bit on your host culture. Remember that reflecting on your experience will help you learn from it – and this is critical if you want to be able to discuss your experience meaningfully in interviews, graduate school statements, resume, and cover letters!
- Briefly describe an experience where you were confused by or had to adjust to an aspect of your host culture. Remember culture includes behaviors, attitudes, and values. Try to describe it objectively – without using positive or negative language.
- Share your perspective: now you can make judgments and let us know how you feel.
- Describe how someone from your host culture would view your experience. You may need to draw on your knowledge of your host culture/country to explain the experience from their perspective.
- How do these reflections prepare you to respond to future cultural misunderstandings and conflicts (remember that these can occur at home and abroad)?
Ideas for Photo and Video Blogs
Instead of creating a written blog consisting of a minimum of 350 words, you have the opportunity to develop and submit a video blog or photo essay instead. For a video or photo essay, you must choose any one of the blog prompts. Videos must be 3-5 minutes in length with Narration. Photo essays must include at least 6 photos, which are fitting and supportive of your blog’s ideas, and at least 150 words describing the photos either in captions or in an introductory or concluding paragraph.
* Photo: Post a picture of a special object, symbol, statue, historical area, or anything of significance to your host culture and explain the meaning behind the photo. Provide context about the image based on information you’ve learned formally in class or anecdotally from locals or peers.
* Video 1: Chronicle your daily path from home to school (or study site, research site, etc.). Either with or without narration, document what your home looks like, the buildings you pass, sights you see, and roads you use to travel. End your video when you arrive to school.
* Video 2: Have you learned how to make any local food or drinks? Either narrating your recipe or captioning your video, show the process from beginning to end and explain its cultural significance.
* Video 3: Visit your favorite restaurant or street vendor in your host country. Ask for permission to video interview the chef or vendor about the work they do or why they do it.
* Video 4: Everyone has a story. Are there any locals unaffiliated with your program who you seem to see frequently? Ask for permission to video interview them about what they do in your host country and what they appreciate most or least about their culture.
* Pecha Kucha: PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format in which a presenter shows 20 images for 20 seconds each. The images advance automatically, and presenters talk along the images (see http://www.pechakucha.org/ for more information). Create a Pecha Kucha describing your time abroad either verbally narrating your photos or captioning them. This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9zxNTpNMLo) describes how to create a Pecha Kucha presentation within PowerPoint.