As students at Boston University, we are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to study abroad. Boston University was actually one of the first universities in the United States to send students abroad. They were also one of the first universities to offer internships abroad. With spring, fall, and summer programs in more than 30 cities on six continents, there is no shortage of choices for your study abroad experience.
I know from experience that spending time abroad is an invaluable experience. Before coming to BU, I lived abroad with my family and I always knew I wanted to study abroad in college. Last summer, I spent six weeks in Grenoble, France for BU’s language and liberal arts program, and in the spring I will be spending a semester in London for the public relations internship program. These experiences have shaped my life and my career goals. Students in the College of Communication in particular should know that studying abroad is a great way expand your career opportunities.
Going abroad takes you out of your comfort zone and although that may seem obvious, many people underestimate the value of learning to overcome the fear and anxiety associated with being out of your comfort zone. Living in a foreign country means you have to deal with an unfamiliar city, language barriers and cultural differences. These changes are difficult and frustrating, but once you learn to acclimate you will realize how thankful you are that you did it.
Being abroad in general can help you prepare for future challenges, but interning abroad will directly influence your career path. First, it will introduce you to a completely different perspective of your industry. For example, public relations is practiced one way in the United States, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily practiced the same way in the Europe, Australia, or South America. As a public relations intern, you will learn new practices and applications for public relations that will be useful when you are back in the U.S. applying for jobs. You will also learn to understand different markets and consumers. This understanding will show future employers that you are adaptable.
Also, interning abroad provides great networking opportunities. The connections you make as an intern, even in another country, can always help you later. The organization or agency you’re working with could have offices in the U.S. that might want to hire you when you return. If you really love your experience, you could even return to that country for a career when you graduate.
Even if you don’t decide on a career in international communications, studying abroad will make you a more open-minded, informed and hirable person. Most importantly, it will be an unforgettable experience. The Study Abroad office has information on the programs and locations.
If you think you want to live abroad, check out PR Daily’s infographic outlining the 10 best countries to live and work.