By Danielle Meyer
This summer I was lucky enough to have the extreme pleasure of studying abroad for five weeks in London, England. The experience of going abroad is one that I will not soon forget and one that I truly believe will impact my future for the rest of my life.
There are many things that I learned from being abroad, including but not limited to, figuring out how to navigate the “Tube” and learning what the word queue means (it means line, by the way). However, I learned a lot about my future career in public relations, in a rather off handed way, from being abroad as well.
From the moment I set foot on English soil I quickly learned that adaptation was key. Any new place has their own customs and ways of doing things and it is imperative that as a foreigner and outsider you quickly learn what these things are and you are able to accept and adapt to them. In London I learned that wearing running shorts or athletic wear of any kind in public for anything other than working out was a no. Being loud in public, particularly on public transport was something that would immediately point you out as an American. In public relations, a career field that is always changing and transforming, adaptation is key. As PR professionals the chances of us finding our first job and staying there forever is highly unlikely. More often than not we will change from agency to agency, perhaps even from agency to corporate PR and through all of these changes the art of adaptation is essential.
In London, I learned that people are willing to help and you should not be afraid to ask questions. So you might look like a tourist… who cares? I mean really, if they were to come to the US and needed help, we all would have helped them and honestly the same goes for the Brits. Though the British people are much more reserved and introverted than most Americans they are helpful people and incredibly willing to share any knowledge of their country and their city that they have. Just as I learned in London, the world of PR is one that requires intense knowledge and skill set of the matter at hand. However, if you need help in this fast-paced world of social media and press releases, you merely have to ask for it. Confidence is key, whether that be taking on a new city or a new job or internship in public relations, and the only way to succeed is to act on that and not be afraid to ask for help when help is needed.
Finally, this summer I learned that time moves fast and though I was aware of this before going abroad, I didn’t really quite understand the concept until I only had five weeks to explore one of the most amazing cities in the world. That being said, it was crucial for me to soak up every experience that was presented to me. When the group I was with asked if I wanted to join in on a “Haunted Tour of London” you bet that I said yes. When I was presented with the mind-numbing notion of awaking at 4 a.m. to catch a train to Paris to simply spend the day there, I absolutely downed three cups of coffee and made my way to the “City of Love”. You never know when you will have these opportunities again and so one must seize the moment while the moment is there. The world of public relations is no different. Time is short and in this industry it is fast paced and ever-changing. In order to get the most out of it, one must simply seize the moment. New and challenging opportunities will be presented all the time in an internship or a job but you never know what new knowledge and experiences you will get out of it. Jump at every chance you get. Delve into this world of PR that we all love so much with no fear and no hesitation.
Danielle is junior majoring in strategic communication. She is specializing in english and retail merchandising & fashion product development. After she graduates, she wants to move to a big city, preferably New York, and work in fashion PR. Give her a follow on twitter at @DanielleMeyer17!