Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My experience on the London PR Seminar (and why I recommend it to others)

Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the London PR Seminar as a graduate student from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

At first, I admit I was nervous about going to London for three weeks (the only other country I’d been to was Canada…to Niagara Falls…with my parents). And I was even more nervous about forking over a few thousand dollars for the trip.
But it was worth every penny. Here’s why:
  • With advancements in technology, it’s becoming easier to communicate globally – increasing the need to understand the PR practice in a complex international environment.
  • If you’re going to study international PR, doesn’t it make sense to study it internationally? During the trip, students interacted with several UK-based practitioners and made site visits to places such as The Times, Ketchum Pleon, the US Embassy and Bank of America.
  • It looks good on a resume. Less than 5% of American students study abroad; having this experience shows you’re motivated, independent, and willing to face challenges.
  • By submersing yourself in a different culture for three weeks, you learn more about the culture and expand your worldview. A great way to do this is by interacting with the locals at pubs, on trains, and even on campus on topics from President Obama's foreign policy to the old argument: which is better - soccer or American football?
  • It gets you out of your comfort zone. Though intimidating, by being 3,000+ miles away from home for nearly three weeks, you become more independent and start to challenge the way you used to think about things.
  • You get an opportunity to meet friends from around the US and the world (and with global technology, it’s easy to keep in touch!).
  • It’s a great way to travel. During our trip, students went to Paris, Rome, Dublin, and Barcelona while others stayed in the country and traveled to local destinations such as Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor Castle, Hampton Court, and Brighton Beach.
And finally:
Take it from me: if you don’t, you may regret it. One of my greatest regrets after graduating with my Bachelor’s degree was not studying abroad. So when I was offered the chance to study a subject I love in a city as awesome as London, I jumped at the chance.

Given the chance, I'd do it again. No questions asked.

For more information, visit http://www.edabroad.uncc.edu/prel.

By Chelsea Wilde

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