How to Maximize Your Study Abroad

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Published on July 12, 2018, at 10:31 a.m.
by Greta Banks.

In an increasingly globalized world — one that public relations is not immune to — study abroad provides students a great opportunity to amass international experiences and competencies before entering the workforce. According to the Institute of International Education, studying abroad benefits students’ employability and improves their job prospects post-college. The Public Relations Strategist even listed a “global mindset” as one of the top five skills for successful PR leaders. With all of the great advantages to studying abroad, it’s no surprise that study abroad participation surged from 2005 to 2015.

Photo of Athens, Greece, by Andy Montgomery via Flickr.com

For PR students looking to go abroad, here are four ways to maximize the experience:

Blog
Writing consistently ranks among the top skills for PR professionals, and blogging about your experience is a great way to cultivate your writing abilities and develop your portfolio. During my semester abroad in Barcelona, I applied to be a student blogger for my study abroad program. This provided me with a platform to have my work published and a formal position that I was able to list on my résumé. You can also create a personal blog using a free site like wix.com, or submit individual pieces to online study abroad publications.

Make videos
Videography is an up-and-coming skill in the PR world. Between all of the traveling and new experiences you have while studying abroad, video content is readily available for you to record! Take this opportunity to learn how to use different programs, like iMovie or Adobe Premiere Pro. You’ll be able to add new technical skills to your résumé, and you’ll end up with some great portfolio pieces.

Step up your social media
Content is king, and study abroad is full of fantastic content. Step up your social media game by trying something new. Livestreaming is on the rise, so try sharing some of your best moments in real time. Use a platform you haven’t used before by making an account dedicated to sharing your experiences abroad. Take the time to understand the nuanced differences between social media sites, and create content tailored to each platform.

Take advantage of the post-study abroad opportunities
Don’t let the learning end when you get back on U.S. soil. There are so many ways to keep benefiting from study abroad, even after it’s over. Many programs have ambassador positions that you can fill on your campus. These programs are a great way to demonstrate on your résumé how you are already utilizing your study abroad knowledge and skills. They also provide you with an on-the-job learning opportunity similar to an internship. Additionally, there is an abundance of resources on how to market your study abroad outcomes to future employers.

Take the time to process your experience and understand how to speak about it in a meaningful way.

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