We have one more study abroad post to share with you. Today, that story is my own.
I was working away last Spring, trying to make sure we were sharing the news with students about upcoming study abroad opportunities, when it was suggested that I take advantage of the University of Southern Mississippi affiliate program with the College of Charleston. Studying abroad was something I always wished I had done while as an undergraduate, but the thought of going now was impractical considering I worked full time. “Nonsense! It’s a trip of a lifetime!” people would say. Or, “aren’t your summers usually quiet anyway?” they would ask. When I countered with the cost of traveling to and living in London for four weeks leading up to the Olympics, they would tell me about all the scholarships available to traveling students. For giggles, I applied to the program. Then I was accepted and the thoughts about traveling abroad became reality.
The course I took was Social Media and British Journalism and it certainly stretched my knowledge since my background is in public administration. This class explored the reasons behind why American journalism is radically different from European countries and why British print journalism is so sensational. Our class met with the European Bureau Chief for Time Magazine, former BBC reporters, the president of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, representatives of the Press Complaints Commission, and high profile media lawyers. We also toured Parliament and several news agencies. The news has always interested me, so it was fascinating taking a look into an industry that I knew little about academically.
Returning to the States was almost as if I had never left. I walked right back into my usual routine, although this time with my trusty British radio iPhone app. Taking the opportunity to travel abroad is a decision I will never regret. I enjoy knowing the experience of being abroad when others talk about having just returned from a transnational excursion. What I wish I had done was consider taking a study abroad far earlier than I had. Having more than just a month to apply and find the financial assistance to travel is definitely helpful for such an investment. So if you’re considering completing a course abroad during your graduate career, think about it early. You will not regret going, but you may cringe at the student loan bills later.