Reflection on Your International Experience


Your experience abroad is a significant investment for you, Princeton University and our partners. To encourage you to celebrate, share and amplify your learning upon your return, we would like you to capture and distill your insights and reflections from your international experience in any of the following formats:

  • Written reflections
  • Blogs
  • Qualitative poster
  • Research presentation
  • Videos
  • Exhibitions of art or photography
  • Theater or dance performance
  • Demonstration of a cultural practice and discussion of how it is meaningful (e.g. cooking, games, ceremonies)
  • Other presentations (e.g. PowerPoint)

Or choose a format that better suits you and let us know why you’ve chosen that. Think of the final product as a mosaic of Princeton students’ international experiences over the past year, where each of you is adding your own unique tile.


This exercise is intended to provide a structure for intentional, continual reflection; help you make connections between seemingly unrelated concepts and events; record your journey and present it to a wider audience in a format of your choosing; and promote cross-sharing and learning across the rich experiences all of you will be engaged in.

Framing a Narrative

Here are some reflective prompts to help focus and frame your reflection. Feel free to use as many as you want, or to simply focus on just one.

  • What were the highlights of your experience... and why are they highlights?
  • What perspectives did you gain or shift from working/living in a new environment? What were your “aha” moments and key takeaways? In what ways are you different now than you were at the beginning of the experience?
  • What legacy do you want to leave for your hosts/communities/employers/future Princeton students? Which stories do you want to tell? Take a minute to consider your potential audience. Who are you talking to? We suggest you initially construct your reflection with a broad audience, after which you can narrow it down to a more specific group as you define your intentions.
  • Who were the people you were acquainted with through your experience? What were their stories?
  • What can you include in your reflection that is specific to your own experience? What are you learning about yourself? Remember this is your story to tell!

Other Useful Tips

  • Make it a point to engage in reflection, whether through journaling, photography, blogging, or any method that suits you, so that you are continually making sense of and meaning from your experience.
  • Creating a reflection of any sort is an ongoing process. Get into the habit of documenting impressions that strike you at the end of the day or week, so that you have rich material to draw from and showcase when you start putting together your final reflection.
  • Remember the quality of your reflection rests more in its narrative content than in its technical aspects.

Your reflection may be shared with other students and/or with the general public during Learning Across Borders. However, if you would prefer to keep your reflection private, please let us know and we will make sure it does!

Timeline/Key dates

April/May Discussion of Learning Across Borders at selected pre-departure orientations
May 3 - 13 Workshops on photography, blogging, digital storytelling, how to create a successful poster, etc.
June Create your profile
July Peer reviewer matching
August 1 Proposal due for peer review
August 15 Deadline for completing Peer Review
August 22 Final Project Submission
September Feedback from LABs Committee
September 24 Learning Across Borders 2016

LABs Roadmap!

Travelers need maps; here is one for your Learning Across Borders reflection:

Step 1: SET UP PROFILE: Go to the Learning Across Borders website and set up your profile.
Please be sure to double check your contact information, as that is how your partner for the peer review stage. The deadline for setting up your profile is June 30, 2016. Don’t worry about specifying what kind of proposal you are doing. You can do that at a later date.

Step 2: CONNECT WITH YOUR LABs PEER REVIEW PARTNER: In mid- July you will be assigned a partner for the peer review stage of the LABs reflection. Using the contact information provided, reach out to your partner and send them a proposal for the reflection. The deadline for this is August 1, 2016.

Step 3: PEER REVIEW: Take some time to assess the proposal your peer review partner has sent to you. Give constructive feedback: Does it meet the objectives of the LABs reflection? Is it meaningful to you? Does it show or demonstrate something important about your partner's experience? The deadline for getting your feedback to your partner is August 15, 2016.

Step 4: REVISE, COMPLETE, SUBMIT: Take your peer review partner's comments and suggestions into account, and revise and complete your reflection. Every student who is proposing a reflection that is not a written document (e.g., video, dance, etc.) should still submit a written description of the piece to See this page for specific instructions about how to share your videos. The deadline for submission is August 22, 2016.

Step 5: LEARNING ACROSS BORDERS DAY: Your reflection will be read by a member of the LABs team and you will get specific feedback. On Learning Across Borders Day (Saturday, September 24) you will have the opportunity to share your reflection with the entire campus. Please save the date, and look for more information on the specifics of this event later in the summer.