On April 7, the Education Abroad Center (EAC) launched its newest step in connecting students back home through its innovate social media hub called the Aggie Abroad Social Network.
The Aggie Abroad Social Network, which gained over 500 members in its first month of operation, is designed to provide communication between students from country to country, back home and from school to school.
“The network is a place to tell stories, to post photos. It’s a place to post videos, creative projects for class all within the context of travel,” said Blake Cooper, the EAC’s outreach, marketing and social media director.
The network, which integrates Facebook, Twitter and other social media sources, is a place not only to gather information, but also to get a true understanding of the abroad experience. To make the website easier to navigate, students can join groups based on their country of choice, following students who traveled there, are currently there and want to go there in the future.
For Cooper, one of the most important parts of the site is the ability for those who have already traveled abroad to give their peers advice from their own experiences.
“I was trying to figure out what wasn’t available on the EAC site and I wanted to build a place that basically connects traveling Aggies,” Cooper said. “A place certainly to get information but also to gain information beyond what the website will provide.”
The network’s successful launch was drastically facilitated by the EAC’s photo contest, which has been going on for years.
“In the past we’ve had developers build sights where students can post photos. It just was a collection of good photos, which didn’t give people the opportunity to comment on, to like or to integrate with Facebook,” Cooper said. “So part of building the platform was to post that photo contest as well.”
The photo contest added a new incentive for students to join the network. Kayla Fox, a junior animal science and technology major who studied in University of Sussex in Brighton, said she didn’t even know about the social network until she joined the photo contest.
Gabriel Legaspi-Rodriguez, a sophomore Chicana/o studies major, is currently studying abroad in Havana, Cuba. He said he appreciates how the Aggie Abroad Social Network allows him to connect with other Aggies.
“I look forward to sharing my experiences in the near future. I am sure this will help connect those who have or want to travel abroad,” he said in an e-mail interview.
The Aggie Abroad Social Network is open to all students who are interested in the abroad programs, and can be found at ucdavisabroad.com
CHARLOTTE YOUNG can be reached at email@example.com.