Taryn Rostovsky, current Study Abroad Coordinator, and Amelia Henning, current Study Abroad Blogger, interviewed each other about their swap in positions.
Last semester, Taryn Rostovky blogged for The COMmunicator from London, while Amelia Henning was in Boston acting as Study Abroad Coordinator.
Taryn interviewing Amelia:
Taryn Rostovsky: Now that you’re abroad in London, having read your past bloggers’ experiences, do you use any of their advice or tips? Do you look back to the blogs for itineraries or places to go? Did you ever read a blog and go, like, “Oh, I have to do that!” and now you’ve done it?
Amelia Henning: I definitely have found myself seeking out the more photographic places that past bloggers have found. I remember past bloggers loved visiting sketch, which is an aesthetic restaurant that serves amazing afternoon tea, and I can’t wait to go.
Also, whenever I’m just walking around London, sometimes I recognize a name or a place that a past blogger wrote about, and that reminiscence brings me closer to Boston. In terms of past bloggers’ advice and tips, I definitely had the upper hand in terms of what to expect going in: That culture shock is real—that London is so expensive, and that I need to be patient and open to new experiences everywhere.
TR: What was the transition like from editing multiple articles to having to only focus on your own? Was it easy or difficult?
AH: It has definitely been an adjustment to focus only on my writing instead of switching off between different articles. I like how this opportunity to blog has allowed me to develop my own writing style and flex my own voice. I think using my own voice in articles is one of the biggest adjustments I have had to make, as well as adjusting to the idea of someone reading my work, instead of the other way around. However, this has been a good adjustment, since having a few people’s input definitely helps to make an article stronger and more relatable.
TR: What did you learn as an editor that has helped you improve writing your own blog posts? Differently, was there anything you learned as a blogger that you didn’t do as an editor?
AH: As an editor, you focus very intently on grammar and formatting, and I think that that focus has helped me improve my writing to be more clear and precise. Also, my past experience as an editor helps me to visualize the way that I want my blogs to look on the site, in terms of photo layout, etc., which then guides the way that I write and format my blog posts.
I also know from editing other blogs that interesting photos really help, so taking good photos is something that I have also been conscious of while blogging. Based on my experience as a blogger, I know now how important a writer’s individual voice is, and I think if I could go back in time and give myself advice on editing, it would be to try harder to bring out the individual voices of the writers through in their blogs.
TR: Are there skills you have to use as a blogger that you didn’t have to use as an editor?
AH: I think as a blogger, I have to be much more of a leader instead of a guiding hand; I decide the topic, I decide the angle I use to approach the topic, and ultimately, I bring the tone of voice, perspective, and creativity to the article. Being a leader in the creative process is probably the biggest difference in the skills I have to use as a blogger instead of an editor.
TR: Which do you prefer: writing or editing?
AH: I like writing because it allows me to be creative and really dig deep into topics that are personal and meaningful to me. On the other hand, I really like editing because I like seeing the way different people will approach the same topic, and I also like thinking analytically about grammar and formatting.
I guess which I prefer kind of depends on my mood or what part of my personality I feel like leaning into that day: creativity or analytical skills. Today, in moody London, I feel like being creative.
Amelia interviewing Taryn:
AH: Reading everyone’s blogs about their amazing time abroad is ultimately what inspired me to apply to go abroad. How do you feel being back in Boston—reading and editing abroad blogs? Do you miss being abroad?
TR: I miss being abroad every day. Of course I love Boston, but there is nothing like exploring a new city, traveling every weekend, making new friends, eating great food, and studying in a different environment.
Reading and editing abroad blogs make me miss it even more, but I get to feel like I am living vicariously through you guys. The funny thing is, all of my bloggers are either in London or LA: two cities that I have lived in. I studied abroad in London, but I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so it’s home. I get to give advice to my bloggers and see what they are doing in two cities that are familiar to me.
AH: What has been the biggest adjustment you have had to make going from a study abroad blogger to an editor?
TR: You know, being an editor, rather than a writer, is very different. I don’t necessarily get to give my own “flare” to any of the posts that I edit. As a blogger, I felt like every post that I wrote was mine, which it was.
As an editor, I just fix grammar or tense issues, or help rephrase sentences, but all of the ideas are the writers’. I had to figure out how to leave the creativity in the bloggers’ hands.
AH: What has been the biggest reward?
TR: Oh, this is a good question. I don’t know! I feel really honored to have been asked to be the Study Abroad Coordinator.
I am really lucky that I am able to be involved in other people’s abroad experiences and help them shape their stories. It has been really rewarding, not only to edit my bloggers’ posts, but also to share my own abroad stories with them, keep contact with them through their time, and give them as much guidance and direction as possible.
AH: One of the things I had to adjust to when I first started editing was making sure I wasn’t injecting my own voice and writing into others’ works. Have you experienced this as well, and if so, how have you worked through it?
TR: I totally get what you mean. I feel like I haven’t injected my own voice into others’ work because I have noticed that as an editor, it isn’t my place. Though there have been times where I would read a blogger’s piece and maybe I would say something differently, so I would make a comment with a suggestion. But, of course, the making the change is always up to the them. The ball is always in the writer’s court.
AH: Which do you prefer: writing or editing?
TR: Honestly, I think editing! Although I love writing and creating blog posts with my own words, I love listening to what other people are doing and editing other people’s stories. It makes me feel like I was part of their journey.
Amelia Henning, Study Abroad Correspondent
Amelia Henning is a senior in COM majoring in advertising, double minoring in art history and visual arts. She is currently studying abroad in London, and she spends her free time abroad on the hunt for London’s best chicken tikka masala.
Taryn Rostovsky, Study Abroad Coordinator
Taryn Rostovsky is fourth-year senior student at Boston University, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, and double minoring in communications and dance. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, she came to Boston for a change and a chance to dabble in the snow. Eventually, Taryn hopes to fuse her appreciation for design and advertising to further a career in the field.