If there is one piece of advice I could give to every student out there it would be to study abroad! Everyone should be exposed to the world around them because it will expand your horizons in so many different ways. Traveling will change you as a person both personally and professionally.
As a future PR professional in the making, I have learned the importance of being able to connect and relate to people. This summer I decided to venture outside of my home turf in Philadelphia and study abroad in Rome. It has been nothing short of an adventure and eye-opening experience. The Roman culture is so different, ranging from crossing the street to the right way of dressing, and I’ve come to realize that adaptability is extremely important in the PR field. I’ve also had to re-learn everything that I thought I already knew about communicating with people.
Being culturally well-rounded will allow you to be the secret weapon and most valued employee at any agency, company or business. By studying abroad at any point in your life, you are setting yourself apart from the crowd simply because you have international experience and companies are finding out that they will thrive with these types of employees. Having employees that are knowledgeable of the world are becoming a necessity in the work force.
From being in Rome, I have come to realize that many Americans don’t realize that there are so many different cultures and different types of people in the world. It is important for PR professionals to have an international experience because America is turning into a melting pot of different cultures. The best PR professionals are the ones who can stay on top of the latest cultural trends and know how to interact with those of a different culture. By going abroad you are training yourself to do just that while also gaining an international perspective. You’ll expose yourself to how news in other cultures travels, how specific target audiences are reached, and you’ll gain a set of foreign language skills that are lethal in any workplace. One day you could have a client who is Italian, German, Spanish, etc. and you will need to be able to form a relationship with them. Not to mention, people who have been abroad are more likely to get jobs in senior management levels that pay a lot of money for your expertise in other cultures and your willingness to be put into another culture.
Believe it or not, America isn’t that big, but the world around you is. Studying abroad is an adjustment, but one worth making. Go abroad and make yourself part of a different culture, don’t be afraid of standing out or attempting to speak the language. Try to fit in, talk to the locals, order in restaurants where you don’t understand the menu. There is so much to see, so much to do, and so many opportunities to take…after all “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
This guest blog was written by PRowl staff member Alissa Steele.