April 29, 2019

The Boston Area Study Abroad Association (BASAA) Conference, themed“Study Abroad Just Wants to Have Fun?", took place in Boston on April 19th. This year, Arcadia's Aurora Margarita-Goldkamp, program representative, was in attendance. Here are her thoughts on her takeaways from this conference.

On April 19th, I was lucky enough to attend the Boston Area Study Abroad Association (BASAA) Conference, themed “Study Abroad Just Wants to Have Fun?” in Boston. I was excited to support our Emerson Arcadia Alumni Ambassador, Chrissy Fay, who represented GenZ and her experience in Arcadia in London during the opening event for the conference, a student panel exploring the question, “Would You Still Travel If You Couldn’t Snap a Photo?” The panel consisted of seven students from around the Boston area who had participated in a variety of programs around the world. Chrissy was very articulate and honest about her use of social media while researching her destination and studying abroad, and of course, her ultimate answer was “Yes!!” she would travel even without the ability to share her photos.

I personally found it very valuable to hear “straight from the horse’s mouth” - yes, I’m not GenZ, how could you tell? - about the specific uses of certain social media platforms and how students are using them to research, explore, and curate their study abroad experience. Did you know that students use Snapchat and Instagram’s Map feature to view live stories of students and locals in the destinations abroad when choosing a program, and then even to find the cool spots to visit, while abroad? I didn’t! I also heard it repeatedly confirmed that Facebook is curated for family, or for more educational posts, and is less commonly used than other social media platforms. We touched on Finsta (Fake Instagram) accounts and the issue that our curated photos don’t always tell the full story - they did study, insists Chrissy! I thought it was encouraging that the student who had studied abroad in Morocco had posted Arabic keywords on her Instagram posts, to brag about her linguistic skills, not only to share her photo-worthy experiences! The panel also explored the idea that students often have seen a specific photo in a specific destination that they aim to recreate while abroad.

I also appreciated the chance to attend valuable information sessions at the conference, including a Peer Advisor session with helpful insight on programming from Wheaton, Bridgewater State, and even Towson, that I’m sure will help to improve our Arcadia Alumni Ambassador Program.

Let’s hear it for Chrissy, and for our partners in the Boston area!

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