When it comes to study abroad opportunities for communications students, there are plenty of opportunities—especially in journalism—for most of the media disciplines.
As a journalism professor (retired) at Loyola University Maryland, I had to create short-term programs abroad because our juniors and seniors could find no equivalents abroad for the specialized professional courses required by our curriculum for upper classmen. We never could justify sending our students abroad full-time to transplanted classrooms and labs.
However, being abroad offered some unique experiential opportunities for field-based programs, as well as providing a global perspective beyond reach in the classroom at home.
Having pioneered the experiential media boot camp abroad in 2001, we brought this approach to full maturity with the establishment of ieiMedia (The Institute for Education in International Media).
However, the disciplines encompassing advertising, marketing, and public relations have lagged in these developments, except for internships and study tours. We believe there are now unprecedented opportunities to create résumé-building experiential programs in these areas.
On every continent there are emerging capitalist nations in need of tools to support their transformation. The key is not to work with entire countries, but to look for towns, cities, and provinces that could use some American expertise.
Over a year ago ieiMedia was approached by an Italian province in need of an infusion of new ideas and expertise. We had developed a workable concept that would bring American students and their marketing and PR faculty there for a summer of seed activity. We could never find an American university to partner with us in this enterprise.
Hopefully, that opportunity is still open. But we are eager to partner with any institution uniquely connected abroad to create a precedent-setting experiential summer program in advertising, marketing, and public relations.
The wired world is a smaller world, for sure. It’s also much more convenient, especially when you’re traveling and studying abroad. Recently, USA Today rounded up six apps that every study-abroad student should know about.
- Triposo for practical info on 142 major destinations worldwide, such as the current exchange rate and exchange locations, local transportation stops, and suggestions of local food to try.
- Evernote for recording lectures and taking notes.
- Snapchat to keep friends visually updated on your life, using WiFi instead of data.
- Viber to text and make calls over WiFi.
- Foodspotting for user-generated suggestions of places to eat.
- Google Translate to help you plan what to say and how to say it in interviews and casual conversation.
We’d add Word Lens, an app that translates printed words when you point your phone’s camera at them, letting you literally and instantly see what those those inscrutable road signs and menus are saying. And for serious students of language, there’s nothing better than the Collins series of dictionaries and verb apps. They run more than $20 each, but they’re worth it.
What’s your favorite app for travel?
ieiMedia’s Urbino 2013 Project website has been named a finalist in the 2013 EPPY™ Awards, sponsored by Editor & Publisher magazine.
The EPPY™ Awards are one of the nation’s most prized and long-running honors for online content and recognize the best media-affiliated websites across 30 diverse categories.
ieiMedia’s website, created in partnership with James Madison University and Iowa State University, is a finalist in the “Best College/University Journalism Website” category.
After three weeks of in-depth judging, the E&P team, along with a prestigious panel of 78 judges, voted and selected the 2013 EPPY™ award finalists.
Each EPPYTM entry is judged on its own merits within a particular category. Finalists must receive a score in the top one-third of the average score across all categories within their division.
A complete list of finalists is available on the Editor & Publisher website.
Congratulations to all the students who worked on the site, including Nikki Beck, Kaitlin Birkbeck, Bethany Blakeman, Jessica Christian, Connor Drew, Kirsten Fenn, Rachel Green, Stephanie Gross, Tory Hallenburg, Ashleigh Hodgson, Haley Johnston, Myra Krieger-Coen, Rachel Lake, Teddy LaMotta, Laura Miele, Autumn Morowitz, Teddy Nelson, Amanda Presley, William Price, Giovanna Rajao, Zuogwi Reeves, Kelsey Richmond, Kathleen Riley, Kelly Roden, Steven Schmucker, Kelly Sebetka, Cory Smith, Hannah Spurrier, Funda Tekin, Stephanie Tormey, Megan Vaughan, Casey Wagner and Greg Zwiers.
University of Urbino student interpreters included Luca Ambrogiani, Alberto Biondi, Elisa Carloni, Fabiola Castellani, Chiara Ciattaglia, Vitalba Conte, Tommaso Corbelli, Veronica Dadi, Martina Dragomanni, Massimiliano Greghini, Giada Guastalla, Alessandra Maci, Sofia Sacconi, Luca Sartori and Elena Sorchiotti.
Professors on the project were Steve Anderson, Francesca Carducci, Dennis Chamberlin, Michael Gold, Rustin Greene, Greg Luft, Bob Marshall, Susan West and Pawel Wyszomirski, along with teaching assistant Evan Robinson.
Students who aspire to be travel writers or who simply want to share their study-abroad experiences now have several opportunities to do so—including a chance to win $1,000 in a contest whose deadline is October 31.
Abroad Scout, a portal website for study-abroad programs, wants students to write posts for their blog. According to the site: “You can write about a country or city, a project you worked on while abroad, a particular observation you had, a story regarding your experience, or anything else that has to do with you and your international education. Some topics to consider are food, places, culture, customs, faux paus, activities, events, classes, professors, processes, visas, program types, and learning.” Recent student posts include a guide to Italian bureaucracy; a fiction writer’s story about Santiago, Chile; and an account of how one student learned the difference between Spain and Basque country. For more details, visit this page.
Life After Study Abroad magazine, a new publication, is looking for writers for its website and print magazine. For the website, say editors Noah Peden and Tonya Tooley, “We’re constantly looking for students to write about their study abroad experience in our Life After Abroad section. This section is filled with amazing articles on how to deal with reverse culture shock and stories of study abroad experiences from other students.” The editors are also gearing up for Issue 2 of their print publication, which will appear in April 2014. Stories in the first issue include “Why an Internship Abroad is the Missing Piece on Your Resume” and “How to Get the Most Out of Your Volunteer Abroad Experience.” See the writers’ guidelines for more details.
GoAbroad.com, an online directory of study-abroad programs, is hosting the Next Great Travel Writers Contest. Students can win up to $1,000 to put toward another adventure abroad. “We are looking for interesting, colorful, and precise details that show a knowledge or experience of the place or activity featured in the article,” say the contest rules. Stories can fall into one of three categories, according to the site:
1. “Guidebook With A Twist.” This is a unique and interesting “how-to” or informational travel guide about features or characteristics in a specific city or country — with info not easily found in the usual tourist guidebooks.
2. “Travel Feature.” This is a colorful and informational feature article about some sort of activity, event, social custom, or unique tradition that travelers might want to try and experience while abroad.
3. “Top Five/ Top Ten.” This is a “roundup” article where writers can get creative with their Top Fill-in-the-Blanks — places to see, things to do, items to bring, etc. — in various countries or parts of the world.
See the Contest Entry Guidelines for more details. And hurry—the deadline is October 31, 2013.
Students who participate in ieiMedia programs learn to juggle the multimedia skills required of today’s journalists while also navigating through new cultural experiences.
Milana Katic, a senior journalism, political science, and Spanish at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, had already traveled throughout Europe by the time she took part in the Urbino magazine program in 2012. Students in that program are required to produce both photographs and text for their stories. Milana was an accomplished writer but inexperienced in photography, so the Urbino program pushed her to develop her visual storytelling abilities, a skill that she’s recently put to use in an altogether different culture—that of children’s publishing.
Says Milana, “This summer I had the opportunity to work on the Saturday Evening Post‘s children’s magazines as a multimedia intern in Indianapolis. The three publications were Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, and Turtle–each magazine having an audience of anywhere from pre-school to 12-year-old children. Generally, I ran social media for the publications, and I would shoot promotional videos for upcoming issues.”
Among other videos Milana created for the publication was one that shows kids how to make chocolate truffles. A yummy assignment, no doubt.
In addition, says Milana, “The Post also hosts a children’s fitness camp every summer for which I also made multimedia stories. I ran their blog–writing, shooting video, and taking pictures during every major event for the camp.
“Suffice it to say, I had a busy and enlightening summer.”
Milana now works as Director of Public Relations at WIUX Student Radio at Indiana University. Read her 2012 Raffie-award winning story, “Apecchio: Where Beer Maketh Glad the Heart of Man.”
Students will have a great time no matter where they decide to study abroad (like Spain, China, France, Italy, Israel, Northern Ireland, or Turkey). But it helps to be prepared, especially while embarking on a first international experience.
Emerald Pellot, an editor at CollegeCandy.com, spent a semester in London while a student at New York University. Her essay, 8 Things I Wish People Had Told Me While Studying Abroad, includes these great tips:
It Gets Super Lonely “I was deeply homesick by the end of it all and just felt completely disconnected,” says Pellot. “This is totally normal and you’ll get through it. Write letters home, Skype with your loved ones and write your feelings down because you will need an outlet.”
Don’t Be An Annoying American “The only way you’re going to have a new experience is if you learn to accept that things are going to be different. What’s the point of going to a foreign country if you’re just going to try to make it into the place where you’ve come from?…You are in someone else’s home so get your feet off the table.”
Be Bold “Don’t ever stop exploring, let your curiosity be your guide and don’t let your need for safety and security limit your experiences. You will miss out if you don’t push yourself to see and try new things. Push through.”
And we would add:
Keep a Journal The time goes by in a flash, and when you get back home you’ll want to remember all the details. Make a habit of jotting down what you experience every day.
Go Local If you see a McDonald’s, avoid it. Eat at the local spots (but be safe!), shop in the local markets, relax in a local park, visit a local library or bookstore. That’s your best bet for meeting locals and have an authentic experience.
Pack Light Who wants to be weighed down (literally) with stuff? If you need more clothes, buy them there—you’ll have a genuine experience and you’ll go home with something unique.
What tips do you have?
I have been in Moscow, Russia, the past month poking around to determine if it would be a good site for a new ieiMedia summer program. First there is the factor of expense; second there is the difficulty of dealing with the Cyrillic alphabet on signage; and finally there are few Russians that speak English as a second language. Yet this is the type of challenge that motivates our institute. We feel that experiential learning occurs best under the most demanding circumstances. And our methods of enabling students to function beyond all expectations in a foreign culture have been honed over 14 years of giving undergrads a taste of what it’s like to work as foreign correspondents.
However, equally important in creating an international media experience is to enable students to discern cultural differences in a non-comparative way. Our programs permit students to go beyond their pre-conceived notions and meet a culture on its own terms. By putting students outside their cultural comfort zones under deadline pressures, we give them the opportunity to see the world through a different prism and not retreat into judgmental thinking when confronted by the strange.
Moscow adds a new level of discernment to the student experience because here, more than at any of our other sites, students will be in a Western society which projects an alternative world view. It was eye opening for me to be here during the Syrian sarin gas incident and observe media coverage with an agenda much different than MSNBC or Fox News or CNN. Liberating students to “see for themselves” is an important milestone in achieving intellectual maturity. How instructive it was for our students in Turkey last summer measure American coverage of the demonstrations against their first hand knowledge.
Moscow, by the way, is a vibrant city, architecturally more interesting than Paris and infinitely more complex than Rome. Stylish people hustle between appointments on working days, and the night pace is reminiscent of New York. For our many students who come from smaller American towns, this will be the quintessential urban experience – the fourth level.
We are seeking an American college or university to become our credit partner in this opening to the east. Drop me a line if you are interested: aciofalo@ieiMedia.com.
Gonzaga University is cooperating with ieiMedia to offer the Institute’s first Lifelong Learning Program this Spring. The program is aimed at alumni and other interested adults. The group will spend a week in March on the French and Italian Rivieras doing art, photography, and cooking, plus instruction in conversational French.
The program is headed by Dr. John Caputo, Professor of Communicatons Leadership at Gonzaga, and an intercultural communications expert who has taught for ieiMedia in Cagli and Camerano, Italy, and Armagh, Northern Ireland. He is the director of “Gonzaga in Cagli”, a graduate course in communications leadership offered every summer in Italy. He also directs his department’s graduate program in Florence each spring before heading off to Cagli. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
For full details visit the program page.
This excerpt from an over the transom proposal to ieiMedia cuts to the very essence of the type of journalism we espouse. (It comes from Prof. Stephen G. Bloom at the University of Iowa.) After we had taken our summer reporting group back to Cagli, Italy, for the umpteenth time, a professor eager for new terrain warned that we would soon be running out of stories to do. My response: “There are 10,000 people in this town, so there must be at least 10,000 stories.” Our objective was to build a documentary portrait of a town mosaic style—one gem of a story at a time—until a full picture emerges. We can never have too many stories about pasta making if we don’t forget that the story is really about the pasta maker and how we link his individuality to larger issues swirling around him and his society. –Andy Ciofalo, President, ieiMedia
Conventional media coverage focuses on news involving key players in politics, business, arts and entertainment, society, science, fashion, medicine, law, education, and sports. We cover leaders in these arenas because what they say and do is thought to have impact on our lives. When President Obama announces an upcoming trip to Russia, it’s news. When the Fed reduces the prime interest rate, it’s news. When San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum tosses a no-hitter, it’s news. When Kim Kardashian gives birth to a baby girl, it’s (unfortunately) news.
All these accounts are top-down news stories. At their heart are the powerful and the recognized. But these top-down stories are less about us than they are about us gazing into a thick, impenetrable department-store window filled with goods that are neither real nor centrally relevant to our daily workaday lives.
Almost everyone — certainly not just Americans — is yearning for frank and candid stories about real people. I’m not talking about Hallmark feel-good pieces, but well-constructed, evocative and true stories about us — about who we are and the human condition each of us shares.
Narrative stories about everyman and everywoman are the core of our human civilization. “Tell me a story” is the world’s oldest plea. Storytelling in an accounting of events and how those events make an impact on the listener’s (or reader’s or viewer’s) life. Some stories are essential; others are for elucidation, information, personal enrichment, entertainment. If told well, they can make for an unforgettable and indelible impact. All ought to make us sit up and ponder our own roles in the daily parade of life.
Taken as a whole, such bottom-up storytelling constitutes important and vital social history, which focuses on the lives and contributions of ordinary, working-class people. It’s this collective culture and the collective sense of who we are that binds each of us together, whether we are Americans, Russians, or Chinese.
Yet, everyday men and women are invisible to the media everywhere. To the nurse in Shanghai, the factory worker in Kiev, the butcher in Fortaleza, the tailor in Jerusalem much of the current top-down news agenda is irrelevant. These stories are about someone else. This is a distressing omission in our media landscape. Millions of stories never get told. And we are poorer for it. Read more >>
In the summer of 2012, Leah De Graaf, now a senior in journalism and mass communication at Iowa State University, took part in ieiMedia’s Magazine Journalism course in Urbino, Italy. She produced three stories for Urbino Now, the magazine produced annually by the course. One story explored pausa, the Italian custom of taking a lengthy mid-day break. She also wrote a feature and sidebar about La Tavola Marche, a inn and cooking school run by two American ex-pats. Her feature won our best feature award for 2012.
This summer, Leah was one of 33 students chosen to take part in the ASME internship program, a prestigious opportunity for which more than 300 applied. She spent two months as an intern at Real Simple magazine, a publication of Time, Inc. Leah discovered that Real Simple is a much nicer place than magazines depicted in movies like The Devil Wears Prada, and that New York is a lot more crowded than Iowa. We checked in with her to find out what else she learned.
What was your job as an intern at Real Simple? What was a typical day like? Whom did you work with?
At Real Simple I was placed in the research department. I was working with a team of six staff researchers and one other intern. My major assignment while at the magazine was working on the Family Issue, an annual special issue. For this issue, I fact-checked three front-of-the-book articles and one food feature, and did the reporting for a sidebar of a feature story on “helicopter parents.” The rest of my free time was spent fact-checking other articles for the August, September, and October issues of the monthly print magazine. I worked on a really broad range of topics, which was one of the best parts. While we were waiting on stories to arrive on our desks, I also researched different topics for other editors and transcribed interviews. Towards the end of my time at Real Simple, I spent a few weeks in the fashion department helping the assistants check in and organize clothes for photo shoots.
On a typical day, I had a 20-30 minute commute to work on the subway. I arrived a little before 10 a.m., would check my email, and get started going through the stories on my desk. Most of the time I was checking specific names, quotes, prices, and stores against fact sheets and direct emails from PR representatives. Occasionally I got to talk to sources over phone and email to verify quotes or other questions from top editors. My supervisor would usually come say, “good morning” before 11 and talk about what copy was expected to move to research that day. Around 1 p.m. I usually took an hour lunch with other ASME interns working in the Time & Life Building.
Mondays were my favorite because I got to attend the weekly staff meeting where the deputy managing editor led us through the lineup and checked the progress of each story, with both editorial and design staff members. There were usually about 30 people from all of the different departments at these meetings.
Recently, internships have come under fire as a way to get free labor or make some unsuspecting young person handle all the grunt work. Based on your ASME intern blog post, it sounds like you had a much more rewarding experience. What made the difference?
I really think this all comes down to the leadership at Real Simple and the staff. Everyone was down-to-earth and easy to talk to. Yes, I was extremely intimidated sitting in the office of Kristin van Ogtrop, the managing editor, surrounded by not only her but the executive editor and the managing editor of RealSimple.com. It was clear by their body language how engaged they were in what I had to say, so I was more open and relaxed as a result. Kristin sat casually back in a cozy armchair, and Sarah sat with her whole body facing me on the same couch where I sat. As I told them about my experience at Real Simple, I could tell they genuinely cared about what I was saying. I wasn’t just some girl from Iowa. Of course, they were fascinated with the fact that I grew up on a hog farm.
Also, I was paid for the work I was doing. A lot of times it is the interns who are working for free that are given the grunt work the magazines don’t want to pay someone to do. Although, other interns in my same program were regularly sent on coffee runs and out on errands for editors, and they were paid the same as me. It just depends on the environment of the magazine you are working for.
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by Kenneth Foo, Nanyang Technological University, The Urbino Project 2011