This past summer I studied abroad in London, England as a part of Klein Global Opportunities’ “London Summer Experience.” This changed my life and now studying abroad has become an experience that has molded my character. I had the opportunity to study, intern and explore. I could not recommend this experience enough to all students, especially my fellow PR majors, although, it may be tricky for us in the communications field. Public Relations is a relatively new major to Klein (formerly Strategic Communication) and has undergone a hand full of changes since its conception in 2017. Incoming public relations students have different requirements than those set to graduate in the spring and the academic plans continue to change. This can cause a few problems when planning to study abroad, so below are some tips on how to have a successful experience abroad as a public relations major:
Visit Klein GO! Or The Study Abroad Office
Klein Global Opportunities is a study abroad office that offers communication specific study away programs. PR credit is hard to come by, so be prepared! GO programs range from ten days to full academic years. The office also offers internship components during a few of its summer programs, and we all love internships. Stop by the office in Annenberg room 15 (next to advising in the basement) and visit the lovely ladies of Klein GO, Director Allie Miller, and Assistant Director Gabby Verzella. Allie and Gabby have both traveled and worked around the world and are always willing to help students and share their stories. You can also speak with any of the five peer advisors in the office, myself included, to hear about our experiences and get information about anything study-away related. If Klein GO doesn’t have something you are interested in, you can always stop by the study abroad office in Tuttleman 200 or any other specified study away office on campus.
I’m looking at you, freshmen. Welcome to Temple, when are you leaving? I’m kidding, obviously, but thinking about your future experience abroad is crucial. Meet with an advisor and talk about your options. They should be able to tell you when the best time to go is. Sophomore year? The summer between junior and senior year? Who knows! (your advisor does, that’s who) and they can offer advice about which classes to take now and which to save for when you are away. Unfortunately, many studies abroad programs do not offer credits for specific public relations classes. I chose a summer experience because that is what was best for me and my academic schedule, but if you want to spend a semester or an academic year in another country try to save up as many gen-eds and electives as possible.
I am the self-proclaimed queen of petitions. Petitioning a course means asking for the credit received abroad to count for a different class. For example, I recently petitioned my London internship, PR 4285, to count as my field experience, PR 3587, and let me tell you, I put up a fight. If you know you are going to want to petition a course speak with your advisor, Klein GO, and someone in the public relations department within Klein. Sometimes professors or advisors are reluctant to sign petitions so make sure you inform them about the class you are taking and the class you want to petition it for before you leave. When you return, remind them of your petition, send all projects, papers and assignments you have and fill out that slip to get your credits!
As pop-punk powerhouse, Alex Gaskarth, once said, take a breath and let the rest come easy (from Dear Maria, Count Me In, a great song, give it a listen). The steps leading up to studying abroad can be stressful. Trust me, I know. It’s good to sit, take a deep breath and try to relax. Everything will work out in the end. Try not to get too stressed out and save your energy for your fabulous trip abroad.