The Instagram Effect: The Reality of Study Abroad

Study abroad is one of the best times to explore and travel the world. Traveling to different countries is so convenient when studying in Europe. Studying abroad is filled with so many experiences, but every experience does not need to be recorded. While documenting this experience is very popular on Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest, the Instagram Effect can have a harmful effect. The Instragram Effect is posting the greatest moments and only living for the validation of the Instagram photo likes.

Living for the Instagram pictures and Pinterest posts should not be the highlight of studying abroad. These few months away from home are filled with heavy, complex feelings and should not be diminished by one photo, Boomerang, or Snapchat. You will likely have days where you get lost in the metro or walk in the wrong direction because map reading isn’t available. During my solo trip Paris, I definitely got lost several times. Sharing that experience not only helped with the anxiety and fear, but let everyone else feeling lost know that these are normal feelings. Studying abroad is not a lonely experience.

Now nothing is wrong with posting the standard photo in front of the Kisses of Freedom Wall, the tourist pose in front of the Arc de Triomphe, or a Boomerang of your first sip of sangria, but study abroad is a layered experience. You can laugh at and grow from those days of being lost and distressed. Without this discomfort, there is no change. So when studying abroad, do not fall into the Instagram Effect. I have learned so much more from being vulnerable and realistic during my semester here. Of course, nothing is wrong with some extra likes and followers, but keep in mind study abroad is YOUR experience.

With that I leave you with some of the biggest lessons I have learned during my time.




Tierra Mack is a student at Hampton University and was an ISA Identity & Inclusion blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Barcelona Spain.


Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.

2 thoughts

Leave a Reply