LifestyleUniversity of Delaware

True Life: Studying Abroad Turns You Into A Photographer

Ever notice on Facebook when people get back from studying abroad, your mini-feed gets blown up with pictures of the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge, sunsets and drinking with men wearing scarves (European fashion statement that still hasn’t fully caught on yet here)? Well, that’s because they want to savor their moments and secretly make people jealous of the amazing time they’re having abroad while we’re all stuck in American classrooms doing the same old thing day in and day out.

And then, these people come back and all of a sudden they’re picture Nazis! You could be walking to class with one of them, and they make you stop in front of a new stop sign that was replaced when they were gone, and because it’s shiny and red, they take your picture in front of it. Awkward…

The point is, studying abroad changes people in ways they don’t realize…like acknowledging the invention of the camera.Obviously I’m exaggerating. Plenty of people have taken pictures and own their own cameras prior to studying abroad. But for these people, their trips just increase the amount of times they have to charge their batteries in a month’s time span. And that’s cool and all, but once you’re back in America, chill the fuck out.

Some people start – and this happened to my sister – to become obsessed with taking scenic pictures. My sister doesn’t own her own camera, so now whenever we’re together and there’s a pretty sunset, or the beach is nice, or wow, look at that dog playing in the field, she hits me and says, “scenic pic.” Oh, I didn’t realize I’m expected to drop everything, find my camera and take a 500th picture of the sunset.

Then there’s the people who become crazed with taking pictures of people…in other words, people-watching with pictures. I totally understand getting into the habit of taking pictures of passersby in other countries since their fashion and lifestyles are different than our own, but back in America, it’s not cute to take a picture of a homeless guy sifting through the garbage. It’s just creepy! Or the pretty couple holding hands…you can’t take their picture in America because someone you know may know them, and well, that would just end awkwardly.

You could also turn into an abstract photographer. You know, be that awkward tourist who pretends to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa in a picture, and then when you get behind the lens, you take pictures of shadows and corners of landmarks thinking you’re the person outside of Central Park in Manhattan who sells random photographs for the great price of 3 for $15. News flash: you aren’t. But that’s okay. If abstract photography is your thing, go for it.

Sometimes, people feel uncomfortable taking pictures when they’re out, or sober, or whenever, but after a few months of being trigger happy and filling up three memory cards, that could change. When they come back to America, they’re the newest members of the University of _____ Paparazzi club. Resume update?

It’s a nice hobby to have, especially at this time in our lives when we’re surrounded by fun things to do and remember. But you have to remember there’s a fine line between being a good photographer who happens to not be submitting their pictures to a publication…and being a creeper. So be careful, you new-found picture lover.

Tags : photographystudy abroad