The Third Space Toolkit was officially released a couple of weeks ago at a fun-filled weekend in the Old Town of Edinburgh. A gaggle of undergrad students showed up to be guinea pigs, trying out some of the activities we drew up to help them make the most of living and studying abroad. Storytelling was at the heart of what we provided for some good academic reasons. Hey, it is a university project.
Research has shown that when someone has an experience in a new place it will be forgotten unless that experience gets integrated into a story (Cary 2004). Prof Pennebaker, a psychologist in Texas, has put stories at the centre of his research programme into well-being, discovering that writing about difficult things helps people cope better with anything.
Mapping these ideas onto Third Space, we wanted to provide students with basic training in creating stories out of raw experience. Storytelling is an alternate currency all around the world. If you can tell a story, you’ll find a welcome anywhere you go. Better yet, ask people to tell you stories, the stories behind place names, the stories behind events, the stories behind landmarks, the stories behind people’s names…
The Third Space Toolkit contains 30 cards with activities for students to try out when they are away on their year of studying abroad. They’ll be checking in over the next twelve months on the blog, letting us know how the activities went, telling their stories.
Reference: Cary, S.H. “The Tourist Moment.” Annals of Tourism Research 31.1 (2004): 61-77.
Artwork and design by David McNaughton