Arielle Emmett, Ph.D., new director of the ieiMedia Guilin multimedia program for 2014, published this article in Caixin (Beijing) based on her experiences teaching communications students in China in 2011-2012.
Go Anywhere but Here
(Excerpt from Caixin, October 2011).
The students in my Beijing classes must believe I hold the key to their future career success. When I arrive each morning at the International College of Beijing, their eyes light up as though I am a ten-foot tall avatar. They believe in my power, or at least they pretend to. We speak the common language of their futures: both Chinese and English. They are among the lucky and privileged Chinese youth who, powered by scholarships and their parents’ cash, are among the 440,000 Chinese students flooding international university programs both at home and abroad.
My birthplace – the West – has quickly become the Shangri-La from which these students hope to reap the rewards of an international education. Those with solid English and strong technical skills will become the investment bankers, economists, researchers, and golden transnational communicators of the next generation. As they pass their TOEFL tests and complete their studies in America, the UK, or Australia, these students are likely to outperform and out-earn their stay-in-country college counterparts by far.
In fact, internationalism has become the lingua franca of Chinese higher education. The growing affluence of urban China and its middle class produces a combination of romantic exuberance and disorientation. I call these feelings the “anywhere but here” syndrome. What this means roughly is that bilingual, bicultural study is both sexy and necessary. A college degree from an American or UK institution, whether bachelors or higher, is presumed to put a stamp of uniqueness on a graduate’s forehead, increasing the chances of a good job.
Since enrollments in Chinese higher education have exploded in the last decade, many college graduates find themselves caught in a competitive crunch for the better jobs in big Chinese cities. “A lot of the kids today want to go to banks and immediately become managers,” said Zhang Pu Guang, an Associate Dean of Students at the International College of Beijing, part of China Agricultural University. “They’re ambitious. They don’t even want to work for small businesses or become start-up entrepreneurs,” he observed. “They have a lot of traditional ideas about success.”
According to Wang Yen, an assistant director of career placement at China Agricultural University: “It’s not the amount of jobs; jobs are easy to get in China, but students’ ideas about jobs haven’t adapted to the transformations in our society. They want higher-level jobs than they can get [right out of school].” Wang adds that China needs graduates with specialized skills (e.g., biological, agricultural, or environmental sciences) in out-of-the-way areas, such as the less populated provinces of western China. And the government will refund tuitions for graduates who head to China’s frontiers. “Our schools are beginning to encourage students to go elsewhere to do the specialized work,” he said. “Kids are beginning to get the message.” That way their careers advance faster.
Toward the Lemming Rush (link to full article)
For students who want to focus on humanities, the arts, or social sciences with the idea of becoming public relation specialists or bilingual journalists, international education is commonly perceived as the only way to go. Whether they enroll in Western universities or study in branch campuses or cooperative programs, these students become the currency, if not the prized assets, of an expanding global business.
China has bumped up its 18 to 22 year-old post secondary enrollments from 4 percent to 22 percent in less than 15 years, according to the Ministry of Education. The country also plans to invite 100,000 American students to study in Chinese universities and specialty programs within the next four years.
Urbino program alumni have found the Urbino program’s convergence approach (learning writing, photography and video) useful in finding employment after graduation. Urbino alumni are employed in careers ranging from news, to entertainment, to marketing, to higher education. It’s not surprising to see the variety of fields in which our alumni are employed.
Grant Bell (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, is a videographer for the Helicopter Association International (HAI) based in Alexandria, Virginia. His job entails scripting, editing and motion graphics, as well as photography.
Robert Boag (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, is the Head Photographer for Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Robert says Urbino’s convergence approach of learning writing, photography and video pushed him ahead of the pack when applying for the job.
Allison Butler (Iowa State University), Urbino 2012, is an account manager for Sigler, a commercial printing press in Ames, Iowa. The company specializes in branding for websites, print pieces, apparel and promotional items. She manages a client base of 30+ sororities, fraternities and universities to fulfill their marketing and communication needs.
Leah De Graaf (Iowa State University), Urbino 2012, works as a copy editing apprentice for Better Homes and Garden Special Interest Media (Meredith Corporation) in Des Moines, Iowa.
Kerri DeVries (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, is the Project Manager for Redhead Companies in Baltimore, Maryland. You can read about the value of her Urbino experience at the company’s website.
Sydni Dunn (Louisiana State University), Urbino 2011, is a staff reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C. where she covers the academic workplace and job market.
Kenzie Fisher (James Madison University), Urbino 2012, is a post production production assistant for Lionsgate in Studio City, California. She is currently working on a Lionsgate film coming out next summer.
Dorian Geiger (University of British Columbia), Urbino 2011, describes his post-Urbino life as a whirlwind. He worked full-time at a couple of daily and weekly newspapers and worked as an editor-in-chief at a small community newspaper. He completed a bachelor of journalism degree at University of King’s College, then did two internships, one at Asian Geographic in Singapore and another at Global News in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Dorian’s piece on the real-life inspiration for Cosmo Kramer on Seinfeld appeared in The New York Times on November 1st. Check out his story on The New York Times website.
This fall, he started pursuing a graduate degree at Columbia University in New York City.
Ashley Grisham (James Madison University), Urbino 2012, is an Executive Assistant for Trium Entertainment, a reality show production company in Studio City, California.
Emily Harmon (Iowa State University), Urbino 2012, is Associate Director of the Iowa United Nations Association, a non-profit organization in Iowa City, Iowa. She manages interns, writes op-eds and press releases, edits blogs and press releases, plans events, designs promotional materials, and handles social media. She also did a video for human rights day.
Stephany Holguin (James Madison University), Urbino 2012, is a producer at ABC/13 News,WSET-TV in Lynchburg, Virginia. WSET is the ABC affiliated station in the Roanoke/Lynchburg market, the 67th largest market in the country.
Chelsea Judge (Oklahoma State University), Urbino 2012, is the promotions manager at KXXV-TV, News Channel 25, in Waco, Texas where she creates topical promos for four evening newscasts and produces the image and brand promos for the station.
Steve Odorczyk (James Madison University), Urbino 2011, works for Red Star Merchandise in Charlottesville, Virginia. Red Star manages the merchandise operation for touring bands as well as festivals around the country. They also manage online stores for a number of bands, such as the Dave Matthews Band and The Head and the Heart.
Addie Olson (Iowa State University), Urbino 2011, is a multimedia journalist for the ABC affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa where she writes, shoots and edits her own stories.
Yetiş Paycu (Bahcesehir University), Urbino 2012, is continuing his journalism and cinema/TV studies, but is also working on a documentary film about Kürdish music in Turkey. He is also doing freelance work.
Liz Zabel (Iowa State University), Urbino 2012, is still finishing up her degree at Iowa State University and is currently interning at the Iowa Energy Center in Ames, Iowa as a multimedia communications intern. Her Urbino experience is noted on their website.
Four current and past ieiMedia faculty are among 15 professors of journalism recently selected to participate in the Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The four are:
- Rachele Kanigel, associate professor at San Francisco State University. Rachele is the former executive director of ieiMedia and has taught or led ieiMedia programs in Cagli, Italy; Perpignan, France; Urbino, Italy; and Jerusalem, Israel.
- Susan Jacobson, assistant professor at Florida International University. Susan has taught in Cagli, Italy, and Armagh, Northern Ireland, and will lead the Jerusalem Program this summer.
- Kurt Lancaster, assistant professor at Northern Arizona University. Kurt has taught in the Istanbul Program.
- Mike Williams, associate professor at University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Mike taught in Cagli, Italy, and directed the 2009 Armagh Program.
(Read more about the these professors on our faculty page.)
In a press release, the Institute said: “At the five-day institute [January 5 to 9], the professors, who were selected in a competitive process, will learn concepts and practices that can be incorporated into their teaching of entrepreneurial journalism. Cronkite Professor Dan Gillmor, an internationally known speaker and thinker on new media and entrepreneurship, will lead the institute along with noted entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and Cronkite faculty.”
“Entrepreneurial journalism” is a hot topic in the field today, and refers to the thinking and skills students need in order to navigate the disrupted journalism landscape. Says Gillmor in a description of ASU’s entrepreneurship program, “Students need to be fluent in a variety of digital media forms and understand the trends that are redefining journalism, including media economics and product development, business and marketing. And they need to do this in a way that preserves journalism’s best principles and practices.”
Congratulations to the four fellows. We look forward to incorporating their new ideas into future ieiMedia programs.
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.
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Latest Blog Posts
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by Stephanie Strickland, James Madison University, Urbino Project 2012