How Studying Abroad Made Me a Better PR Professional 

Several years ago, I found myself standing in the middle of Westminster Abbey wondering how I was lucky enough to get there and why I had not taken all my classes abroad. During high school, I was given the opportunity to join my fellow honor students in taking a British literature course in England. I jumped at the opportunity but had no idea how much of an impact this trip would have on my future as a public relations professional. 

Although my time abroad was short, I discovered a love for human connection and storytelling that led me to the field of public relations. Before this trip, I had no idea that telling people‚Äôs stories and connecting on a deeper level with clients and audiences could be an attainable profession for me. So, I continued traveling, learning, and making connections. Through all of that, I discovered three ways in which studying abroad can help anyone become a better public relations professional: 

  1. You will expand your cultural competency. Living in another country provides the humbling opportunity to tear down all preconceived notions and explore what is meaningful to a different community. A thorough understanding of the beliefs and values of another country is a huge asset when working in public relations. When you understand the background of a person or brand, it gives you the ability to better tell their story and resonate with a specific audience. Intercultural competency is a skill that is highly valued and hard to come by, so adding this to your toolbox can help positively advance your public relations career.  
  2. You will establish global connections. Studying abroad will expand the potential for job opportunities and networking. Whether you want to work in another country or bring the skills you learned back home, companies are looking for the qualities you have developed while studying abroad. You will have global connections to endorse you and help set you up on a path of success. You never know when a connection you made abroad could open a door you never anticipated, so networking and establishing genuine relationships is key while studying abroad.  
  3. You will develop confidence as an independent professional. Studying abroad helps you develop a remarkable sense of confidence and independence that will aid you in all your future professional and personal endeavors. When you learn how to thrive in an uncomfortable environment, it gives you the confidence needed as a young professional to reach for new opportunities and accomplish challenging tasks. Your future employers will recognize and appreciate the distinct confidence with which you carry yourself, which is important for establishing genuine brand relationships and being a successful storyteller.

After three years of studying public relations at Samford University, I will continue my education in the spring studying abroad in London, England. I am anticipating great lessons and meaningful connections during my time there, and I hope that you will also consider taking a step out of what is comfortable by studying abroad, because it has the potential to forever change your career and life. 

Emily Jimenez is a junior at Samford University majoring in journalism and mass communications with a concentration in public relations and a double minor in general business and Spanish. Her passion for public relations stems from her love of human connection discovered during times abroad in England, Spain, and Guatemala. She serves on campus as the social director for Chi Omega Zeta Zeta where she has also recognized a love for event planning. If you are interested in contacting Emily, you may reach her via LinkedIn

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