Kent State Communication Students Invade UK, Ireland for Education Abroad Experience
Fifty Kent State University students from the College of Communication and Information participated in education abroad programs in Europe this spring, visiting Northern Ireland, Ireland and England in May.
Three of the college’s classes studied specialized areas in communications in both the U.K. and Ireland. A School of Visual Communication Design course, called Visual Language: Forms of Experience and Expression, and a School of Journalism and Mass Communication course, titled Global Advertising and Public Relations, visited Dublin and London. Mobile Journalism and Publishing, also a School of Journalism and Mass Communication course, traveled across both Northern Ireland and Ireland.
As part of each class, the students worked on group or individual projects throughout the semester and while abroad, studying and comparing communication methods, design and storytelling. These students were not only able to explore different countries and cultures but were able to experience educational and life-changing experiences.
“It opened so many new doors for my career and gave me the opportunity to see a totally different world and culture,” said Kianna Bugglin, a senior public relations major.
Visual Language: Forms of Experience and Expression
Dublin and London: May 14-30
Taught by Kent State Assistant Professors Christopher Darling and Aoife Mooney, visual language students were instructed mainly online throughout the semester. Students worked on individual projects, giving them the opportunity to choose their own areas of interest within illustration, type or design. For example, senior visual communication design major Joshua Bird’s project was a conceptual application interface design that allows users to plan and find restaurants specific to their dietary restrictions, such as a vegan diet.
“Students were able to experiment within their own area of interest in a way that tied into the knowledge and information they acquired and gathered while abroad,” Darling said.
The class participated in educational visits to museums and design studios in Dublin and London, including trips to the Architectural Tour of Dublin, the National Print Museum, the National College of Art and Design, Tate Modern and more.
“I gained a lot of knowledge and insight into design and how it is seen and used in other places around the world,” said Samantha Weiss, a senior visual communication design major.
Global Advertising and Public Relations
Dublin and London: May 14-May 30
Led by School of Journalism and Mass Communication Associate Director Danielle Sarver Coombs, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Michele Ewing, APR, Fellow PRSA, Global Advertising and Public Relations students compared advertising and public relations strategies and tactics in the United States to those in Dublin and London.
The goal of this course, Ewing said, was “to help students gain an understanding about the similarities and differences in strategic communications practices in the United States, Ireland and United Kingdom, as well as becoming better independent learners.”
The undergraduate students worked in four teams, while two graduate students created individual projects. Project topics ranged from analyzing advertising and public relations techniques used by the Beatles and U2 to the portrayal of women in advertising. The students created blogs, interviewed professionals and visited agencies both in the U.S. and abroad. Agency visits included trips to Gibney Communications, Publicis, Ketchum and more.
“The overall experience provided me with insight and allowed me to experience different cultures while studying the differences in advertising and public relations between the U.S., U.K. and Ireland,” said senior advertising major Ryan Wilzoch.
Mobile Journalism and Publishing
Ireland: May 14-May 25
In Mobile Journalism and Publishing, students explored both Ireland and Northern Ireland, seeking compelling stories to produce using mobile devices. When the projects are completed, they will be reviewed and edited by professionals to be published as an iBook and distributed globally on iTunes.
The course was created by Kent State Assistant Professor Joe Murray, Ph.D., in reaction to changes in the use of technology in storytelling and how those stories relate to an audience. In Murray’s early 20s, an opportunity to work in the Middle East changed his perspective on the world. He wanted to create a similar opportunity for his students.
“I think all of my students need more experience with mobile reporting, production, research, editing and publishing,” Murray said. “I wanted to create this kind of opportunity for my students to engage with different cultures and help them to grow personally and professionally.”
The course allowed student to report on real-world, local issues using mobile devices to tell the stories. Some student topics include the squatters inGrangegorman, the loss of Irish language and emigration, the marriage referendum, and Irish culture and folklore.
“Reporting in Ireland opened my eyes to the possibilities of storytelling with minimal equipment,” said senior journalism major Matthew Merchant. “Making a real and authentic connection with the people you meet in whatever place you find yourself in is the most important thing that can happen when you travel.”
About Kent State University’s College of Communication and Information and Study Abroad
The goal of Kent State University’s College of Communication and Information is to offer a range of study abroad options so all of its students can find one that meets their academic, career and personal goals. Because College of Communication and Information programs are tailored to the college’s majors, students can continue to learn about their fields and develop their skills while seeing the world.