A Summer in Korea

I shared my study abroad adventures through a cohesive set of designed Instagram Stories.

I challenged myself to share my study abroad adventures through visual storytelling. By designing daily collages to post on Instagram Stories, I was able to document my travel stories in an exciting and memorable way using photos and hand lettering.

Timeline: Summer 2019 (8 weeks)
Role: Designer
Tools: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, RNI Films


I wanted to share my adventures in a meaningful way.

Before I left for my 6-week study abroad program in Korea, I knew I wanted to document my adventures in a meaningful and digestible way on social media. Taking photos and sharing them individually on social media throughout the trip would be great, but how could I share these moments in a way where my friends and family could thread the narrative together?

Many people mindlessly tap and scroll through social media - I’m guilty of this too. However, I wanted to make posts that people would actually stop and look at.

So I designed daily collages for Instagram Stories

I created collages for each day’s adventures to post onto Instagram Stories. Adding each post to an Instagram Highlight allowed my friends and I to easily view my time abroad in one place. Through these collages, I was able to tell my story of how I lived my life to the fullest in Korea.

why I posted on instagram stories

Making the most out of Instagram Story Highlights

My two options for Instagram were posting to my profile or to Instagram Stories. Since I was going to be abroad in Korea for a total of 8 weeks, I knew there would be a lot of photos I would want to share from each day’s adventure.

Posting on my profile daily would spam my friends’ feeds and would make it easier for my friends to just mindlessly scroll past my post without actually looking at it.

I found Instagram Stories to be the perfect platform for me to document and share my adventures. I liked how I could easily organize everything into an Instagram Highlight. The ease of tapping through an Instagram Highlight far outweighed having to scroll through lengths of photos and text to look back on these memories.

using social media mindfully

Collages allow me to live in the moment and curate content later

One of my pain points with using Instagram Stories is when people post excessively about their time abroad by posting individual photos every time they go to a new place.

Posting collages to Instagram Stories is the perfect compromise because it allows people to post several photos in one design, thus solving the problem of spamming.

Posting a collage also means curating and thinking through the photos and text that I will be sharing. This allows me to craft a digestible narrative of the day that I would not have been able to if I had just posted a photo by itself.

Daily collages allow me to share the full narrative

One of my goals with this project was to craft together a full narrative of my time abroad. Sharing moments sporadically throughout my time abroad would only highlight a portion of my adventures. I wanted to tell the full story, so I decided to share what I did every single day. This way, when my friends or I look back on my Instagram highlight, we can weave together a full narrative on how I spent my time in Korea.

My process

Each collage was carefully crafted

I created these collages throughout my time abroad. Every few days, I spent 2-3 hours before sleeping to work on these collages. I made about 3-4 at a time. Here’s a brief run through of what my process was:

1. Sift through 60-100 photos of each day’s adventures.
2. Select 3-5 photos that I wanted to share.
3. Edit photos in Adobe Lightroom to have similar lighting and color to make the collages look cohesive.
4. Layout edited photos into Adobe Photoshop.
5. Add lettering, doodles, and design elements with my drawing tablet.
6. Upload the finished collage into Instagram Stories and add in the title, date, and captions before posting it for my friends to see.

Final designs

Week 1 in Korea

I went on a field trip hosted by Yonsei University, saw lots of nature, met all of my study abroad friends, and explored Seoul. :)

Week 2 in Korea

Classes started, but I made sure to make time to explore the city, soak in the culture, and eat good food. I also went a Korean movie theater for the first time and watched Spider-man: Far from Home, far from home! :)

Week 3 in Korea

I continued to explore different parts of Seoul and went on a few trips hosted by the UC summer abroad program to visit popular tourist attractions!


What I learned

Every single day is worth reflecting on. Creating these collages was my way of documenting my travel stories so that I could easily look back on them and remember these moments. Sharing every part of a story creates a complete narrative.

Details are important to storytelling. When I came back to the United States and posted my last collage, my family and friends all commented that they loved looking at each part of the collage and complimented how I curated each day’s post. A cohesive story starts with the small details.

My takeaways

My time abroad in Korea was challenging, carefree, and fun. I'm grateful that I decided to document and share my adventures through this medium. It’s been a while since I left to study abroad, but every so often, I still go back to my Instagram Highlight to reminisce in my memories and relive this time period of immense growth.

I originally created collages to share my adventures through a small creative project, but I realized how this project relates to the process of UX Design. I spent a lot of time thinking through how and why I was going to create collages to post on Instagram Stories.

I loved this way of visual storytelling so much that I did this again when I visited Korea in November 2022! I'd love to chat about visual storytelling and travel stories! 

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