As students, we often find ourselves making all kinds of excuses to not study abroad: “It’s too expensive” and “It won’t fit into my degree plan” are just a few of those myths circulating the university world. (Rest assured, money can be found, and you will find a way to make it fit.)
The past six months, I have been studying journalism at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Like many others, I had never thought about going abroad as a practical venture–until, that is, I spoke to several PR professionals about doing it. Those who hadn’t gone wish that they had; those who had gone told me it would be the most amazing experience of my life. Well, they were definitely right, but now having been abroad as a PR student, I think EVERY PR student should do it.
Top 5 reasons why PR students should study abroad:
News travels fast: Go abroad and get a feel for news in other countries. Whether you decide to go abroad to an English-speaking country or not, you will realize that news travels fast, around the entire globe. With social media news-breaks and up-to-the-minute updates via news websites, even the smallest companies in the smallest cities can become international news, especially during a crisis. PR professionals need to know how to navigate through the news world beyond the borders of their country.
Interact with different cultures: I had the chance to work for a news publication on campus, upstart Magazine. Learning how to write for an Australian audience opened my eyes to the world of british english, cultural slang and Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) style of writing–yes, not everyone in the world follows AP style. I also got to interview an Australian journalist and found that journalism exists without boundaries. What this means for PR is that you could be dealing with journalists from all around the world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could refine your foreign language skills or learn the cultural subtleties of a different English speaking culture?
Gain international perspective: Understanding the international impacts of your client’s business is essential to Corporate Social Responsibility, but in order to really access that, you have to be able to look through the eyes of a different culture. Alternatively, your client could have a major business opportunity within a different country and not even know it. When I was abroad, I quickly came to realize that friends’ company, SOLO Eyewear, would gel perfectly with the culture and ideals of Australians. Being able to identify those kind of opportunities is going to be increasingly important for business survival in the coming years with the continual globalization of information.