November 28, 2018
Studying Communication at Drexel’s Global Campus
By: Abigail Amey
Read Time: 5 minutes 30 seconds
Communication students learn in a variety of ways while at Drexel. Leaving campus to study abroad is a chance to learn in a global environment. From Madrid to Prague and beyond, communication students can take classes in another country while using their skills to become better communicators.
Ariana Annunziato and Sarah Dillon are both seniors in the BS/MS program for public communication. These women took very different accelerated month-long trips abroad to broaden their educational horizons and learn more about language as it relates to communication.
With a minor in Spanish and room in her busy Drexel schedule, Ariana spent a month in Madrid, Spain. There were many housing options for this program, but instead of living on campus, Ariana opted to live off campus with a host family.
"Living with a host family was such a valuable experience. I could've lived in a dorm or with other students, but felt it was important to get the true study abroad experience by living with a host mom. She made three meals every day, which helped me save money," Ariana says.
Taking a 15-minute commute to the campus every day helped Ariana explore her surroundings and take in the beautiful sights that she might have missed if she had stayed in a dorm. Ariana got the chance to take the history of Spain and Spanish grammar classes in her time abroad.
"We had to take one class related to grammar and one class related to culture, and with the level I am at, I picked the most interesting classes. As a COM major, I learned a lot about language and how understanding different cultures is very important," she says.
Ariana got to experience a different language and culture first-hand in the classroom, but there was also so much to learn outside the classroom. From practicing her Spanish with her host mom, who did not speak English, to staying at an Airbnb before her trip, Ariana got memories to last a lifetime.
"My favorite memory from Madrid happened before the program started. I arrived in Madrid early and stayed at an Airbnb with a man named Fabio. He took me under his wing, and I even got to experience Gay Pride “Week” with him. Something that was going to be an inconvenience [staying in an Airbnb before her program started] became a great thing," she says.
Language is an essential part of communication, so going abroad is especially beneficial for communication majors. The knowledge of another language and culture helped Sarah Dillon flourish as she traveled to the Czech Republic for a month.
Sarah took an accelerated class about the Czech Republic on Drexel University’s campus before going to Prague and taking courses in photography and architecture. These small-sized classes used field trips along with classroom learning to create an interactive environment for students.
"The classes I took abroad really helped me broaden my horizon when it came to language and communication, but I learned so much about myself outside of class. There is only so much you can learn about language and culture in the classroom, and this trip gave me the chance to experience things firsthand," Sarah says.
Communication is a broad field and going abroad gives students the opportunity to expand on interests in and out of the major. There are classes in many programs that are communication-related, but going abroad is a great way to create new experiences.
"My trip was geared toward Design and Merchandising majors, but I decided to go and explore my interest in photography. It was still an amazing experience, and it will help in my future education and career. I took a chance, and it was worth it," she says.
Having the first weekend free, Sarah and her friends took a trip to Amsterdam. After a night of exploring the city, everyone went to a local McDonald’s. After realizing their phones were almost dead and that they had no more money, Sarah had made a call back home.
"I had to call my mom from Amsterdam at three in the morning and have her wire me money. I didn't budget very well, but I learned to make sure to plan ahead and be more responsible when traveling to new cities. Everything turned out OK, and we got back into our hotel room and flew back to Prague in the morning," Sarah explains.
Budgeting can be tough when studying abroad, but Sarah also had to be wise about her word choices. Everyone in Prague spoke English, but since it was a broken English, Sarah had to pick her words wisely to communicate with those around her effectively.
"People are learning and using communication no matter where they are. This trip taught me to really be aware of what is going on around me because there are so many skills I didn't know I would need while abroad. Without those core communication skills, the trip would have been a lot more difficult," she says.
To those communication majors interested in going abroad, Sarah would suggest not waiting. There are many programs the communication majors can attend, and there is no better time than the present.
"Just do it. When I got here my freshman year, I was confused about life and what my major should be so I thought I could put off going abroad. Sophomore year flew by, and I became worried about co-op, and I knew that I just had to do it. There wasn't going to be a perfect time, so I applied for my third year because I knew I wouldn't go otherwise," Sarah concluded.
For more information about Drexel Study abroad and different program options visit http://drexel.edu/studyabroad/.
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