There is a definite difference between studying abroad in order to learn a language and studying abroad for professional advancement. The 2012 London Seminar in International Public Relations was my second time studying abroad, second time visiting the United Kingdom but my first time exploring a foreign city as an aspiring public relations professional. Public relations will continue to be an evolving profession and London is the perfect city to study public relations in an international setting; I could not have been more excited.
I developed two conclusions from my experience abroad in London. First, I cannot expect others to accept or understand my culture and background if I do not accept and understand theirs. Every nation’s culture is uniquely its own; The United States is the United States and England is England. One must separate a new culture from his or her own in order to embrace it. I cannot expect American standards in a non-American country. Second, I will stand out as an American everywhere I go. Even if I changed the way I dressed, I cannot change my behaviour norms or the way I carry myself, both derived from growing up in the United States.
Cross-cultural relations are valuable and the need for public relations will increase in today’s evolving world. From my experience abroad, I believe that I must continue to develop a stronger understanding of the many social, political, economic and cultural differences that affect communication around the world. Channels of communication will change as technologies advance but relationships and meaningful dialogue are imperative no matter which medium is used. After all, aren’t all great brands built upon effective communication between its organization and its relevant constituencies?
My definition of public relations strengthened and broadened because my experience from the London Seminar in International Public Relations. Please visit the student-made website for more information about this study abroad program.
by Irene Tang
Manager, Global PR Resources and Services Unit