College juniors Alexandra Warren and Sydney Hertz felt overwhelmed with questions while planning for their study abroad trip to London this past fall, so they decided to create All Things Abroad (ATA), a travel guide that aims to “inform and broaden” overseas experiences, according to its website.
The guide provides articles in areas ranging from housing to shopping and eating and features advice related to subjects such as “Cultural Cuisine,” “Tourist To-Do List,” “Housing, Hostels and Hotels” and how to “Live Like a Local.”
According to Warren and Hertz, ATA also aims to create a more unified community where students can read travel advice from writers who are also students and to create a forum for people to ask questions and receive responses.
Warren and Hertz initially developed the idea for a travel website when they were sophomores, in January 2015. The bulk of the project was developed the following summer and it was finally launched in September.
Hertz said that the website will also focus on supplying “short, quick information” rather than long blog posts and essays on the experiences of others abroad. Though she believes that research is an integral part of the website, she emphasizes that the articles should be based on something much more than that.
“Every article is supposed to be based off personal experiences,” Hertz said. “We wouldn’t ever want someone to write an article about a restaurant they didn’t go to or to suggest a trip if they haven’t experienced it.”
Warren and Hertz want a variety of individuals to contribute to the blog through three main areas: marketing, editing and writing. They also want involvement from students at a variety of schools and even from those who have already graduated from college, according to Hertz, who said that students from colleges such as the University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University, Villanova University and Vanderbilt University have already written for ATA. By engaging in these tasks, they hope to keep the articles on the website varied in order to prevent the website from limiting the audience to the students of only a single school.
However, they also plan to keep ATA based at Emory by holding tables at Wonderful Wednesday in order to draw attention to the website and to Emory student membership on ATA.
Warren and Hertz said that though they envisioned what they wanted the website to achieve, they had to familiarize themselves with website-building tools such as Squarespace and WordPress, as well as business and financial aspects of the project before they could begin.
Hertz said that it is important for students to learn how to create websites and online corporations in such an increasingly technology-oriented world, describing ATA as a “wonderful way to apply everything [she has] learned and put it in a single forum to see how successful [she] can be.”
The ATA website began with a focus on four main cities: London, Paris, Tel Aviv and Sydney [Australia].
However, according to Warren and Hertz, ATA is now growing to include more cities, such as Florence and Barcelona, a change Warren and Hertz attribute to their desire to only launch information on a city when they have “good, concrete information” and writers who contribute to the city’s segment on a regular basis.
In addition, according to Hertz and Warren, they hope to make the website more accessible to male audiences in the future, an idea that they describe as challenging because they are both females and because fewer men are writing for ATA than women. Despite this, Warren estimates that about 95 percent of ATA’s articles are already entirely gender neutral and Hertz acknowledges that they consider gender while making each decision for the website, such as when choosing its color scheme.
Hertz noted that the best travel advice she has received is to take advantage of each opportunity offered to her while abroad and to end the trip with no regrets.
“This is [my] time to explore and see [London], and my motto is that I don’t want to leave feeling any sense of regret,” Warren said about her own study abroad experience.