International Advertising in Europe

Posted on: August 3, 2017

My program, International Advertising in Europe, was not a classic textbook study abroad program. I was fortunate enough to be able to dive head first into the industry thanks to a most widespread network of professionals, past colleagues, and friends that our professor shared with us.


This program provided real-time knowledge of the advertising industry as we were welcomed into the workspaces — 22 to be exact — of many talented individuals from an array of backgrounds, where we were celebrated and spoken to as future professionals of the industry.

Without this program I simply would not have understood what it feels like to be immersed in agency cultures of such great variety, what lies within our world’s depths of communication, innovation, creativity, and not to mention the brains of the creators actually behind it all.


Being abroad gave me an inspiration, confidence, and an intense hunger and curiosity to get my hands dirty in the field. The discussions we had along with the lessons, anecdotes, laughs, and casual chats with these professionals and their teams are those that I am truly grateful for as I know I would never have exposure to this within a lecture setting back at MSU.

This type of learning — absorbing the knowledge and experiences of others, ultimately “expanding our walls of previous knowledge” with trailblazing speed, surrounded by the freedom to explore the distinctive vibes of three cities in three different countries — is incredibly valuable for a young student like myself entering such a dynamic and constantly evolving field.


This trip has left me with a clear vision of where I aspire to go after graduation and both the ups and the downs involved in this career path. I have gained an immense pride as a student and future professional of the advertising industry which I will be stepping into alongside great fearlessness, storytelling and influence, creators of the future, and endless curiosity that drives so many aspects of our world.

Thank you Europe, and MSU for this priceless opportunity.

By Audrey Shaefer

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Taste of Europe: Sparty On

Posted on: July 19, 2017

What an amazing experience it has been. These past three weeks will be ones that I will never forget. Each city possessed unique and unforgettable qualities that differentiated them from the next.

When we first arrived in Barcelona, I was amazed how hot the city was. I couldn't believe that people could live there for a whole summer! Our apartments we stayed at for the week had a perfect set up. Each one had up to 5 bedrooms with over 10 beds that comfortably slept the whole group. Our days were spent attending class in the mornings then touring the city in the afternoons. Although there are many beautiful sights to see in Barcelona, such as the Sagrada Família and Park Güell, my favorite was about a half hour outside the city in Montserrat. This is where I stepped a little outside of my comfort zone and hiked about 4,000 feet above sea level. This mountain is also known as the peak in Spain. I highly recommend doing this while traveling to Barcelona, it's beautiful, exhilarating and adventurous. The first week of classes in Barcelona were interesting because everything was all still very new. The classes allowed for us students to connect more as a group and get to know each other. The group activities we participated in allowed us to share ideas with one another which allowed us to see the full potential of our peers. I really enjoyed collaborating with others because not only do you get to know them, but you get to experience their insight on certain topics.

Cannes, France was absolutely beautiful. Cannes is located in the southern part of France which explains its amazing beauty. During our week in Cannes, we attended the Cannes Lion Festival. Going into the week, I expected this festival to be filled with hours of talks that wouldn't really appeal to me much. It turned out to be the complete opposite. The festival consisted of talks and speeches from some of the most respected and successful individuals in the marketing and advertising industry.  There were also speeches from stars such as Nick Jonas, Karlie Kloss, Alexander Wang and many more. These stars talked about their upbringing and how they became so successful. This was very beneficial for us students because they discussed how in order to be where they are today, they had to be very determined individuals at a young age. Other talks that I attended regarded certain techniques and inventions the company was currently coming out with. For example, Chevy employees discussed their newest app to prevent teens from texting and driving. This was one of my favorite talks at the festival because Chevy gathered several brilliant teens to come up with a successful solution to their problem, and they did.

Our last week in Amsterdam was bittersweet. I didn't want the adventures to stop, but I was starting to miss home just a bit. The last week of classes in Amsterdam was my favorite. During this week, we had the chance to make two Nike commercials that would air in Amsterdam. This was my favorite challenge because I absolutely love filming and editing, especially for an advertisement. Unfortunately, my group members and myself did not win the challenge, but we had an amazing experience producing it.

These past three weeks made me learn numerous things about myself. Most importantly, it made me realize that I'm certain I want to continue my education in the advertising field. I was absolutely fascinated with every agency we visited. Every employee in each country loved what they were doing which made their environments positive and successful.  For those who are interested in attending this program next summer, I'll give you three words of advice: just do it. This has been an experience filled with amazing opportunities, friendships that will last a lifetime and a better understanding of myself. I'd advise you to approach this trip with an open mind that is ready for any type of adventure that comes your way. I'd like to thank two people that made this trip the best it could have possibly been, Juan Mundel and Viky Stabio. These two not only planned and made everything we did possible, but they also made it fun and worth our time.

Sparty Blog post
Enjoy this picture of Sparty on my window ledge overlooking the beautiful city of Amsterdam! Go Green!

By Carina Bertakis

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Little Moments, Big Memories

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This post was originally published on Sam Inman's study abroad blog.

My 5-week European adventure is finally coming to a close. I came in with no expectations. I wasn’t sure how to predict how things would go and I’m glad that I didn’t try because I now know that it’s not possible. I would have never guessed that I would make such great friends and do the things I was able to do here. Things as great as this in life cannot be predicted. Si2

I’ve come to learn that my favorite memories come from the smallest moments. The times when things were unplanned and raw.

If I could give you any advice, I would tell you to make sure you do at least 3 things:

  1. Make Friends
  2. Make time for yourself
  3. Get lost

Make Friends

In Barcelona there was a small stir fry restaurant, called Wok Street, that was our go-to spot. It was cheap, delicious and also happened to rest in the shadows of La Sagrada Familia. My favorite memory wasn’t going into Sagrada Familia, even though it is mind blowing and breathtaking at the same time every time, it was going to stir fry. At Wok Street I made some of my closest friends, brainstormed ideas for school projects and shared stories. We would sit there while the sun was going down and I would have a surreal moment when I would look up and see the sunset on the beautiful church, surrounded by great friends in Barcelona. It doesn’t get much better than that.

SI1Make Time for Yourself

Our week in Cannes was nonstop. We were balancing the festival and getting homework done everyday. I started to feel like I was missing out on experiencing Cannes. I left the festival early one day, grabbed a towel and my journal and went to the beach. The sunset in Cannes turns everything purple, the sea, the sky and the mountains. I sat on the beach and wrote in my journal for a while. I felt like the beach I was sitting on and the mountains I was looking at weren’t real; Another surreal moment. The experience felt out of body, I was completely happy for the first time in a long time. I am the kind of person who needs to be alone sometimes, if you are the same I highly recommend getting away from everything for awhile and experiencing something by yourself. You will have a different experience that you can only share with yourself, which I think is special.

Three things to take advantage of if you go abroad

  1. Being in uncomfortable settings
  2. Public Transportation
  3. Connections

If you go on agency visits or meet people in the industry, make sure you receive what they have to say. I really enjoyed seeing how different agency’s work and what they are looking for in employees.

Last but not least here are some things that you should be prepared for

  1. Things go wrong… all of the time
  2. Your bed won’t be comfy
  3. Different cultural customs
  4. You’re going to spend a lot of money

Limit your expectations when going into an adventure like this. Open yourself to experiences,  they will come and possibly change you for the better. Push yourself to overcome troubles when things get tough. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there but don’t forget to make time for yourself. Some opportunities are once in a lifetime, recognize that and take advantage.

These 5 weeks have been the best weeks of my life.

By Sam Inman

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The End of a Journey: Food Across Europe

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This post was originally published on Jack Warren's study abroad blog.

As my first trip abroad comes to an end I sit here in the Amsterdam Airport reflecting on all of my experiences. I made my decision to study Advertising abroad in Europe very late in the school year. I did not book my flight until 3 weeks before and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had seen pictures from friends and heard about trips abroad and how in order to understand the experience you have to actually go experience it. I was hesitant to actually follow through with my decision but as I sit here I am realizing that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Sparty1

When we first arrived in Barcelona I felt uncomfortable with the culture. I did not like it and I wanted to go home. I have had some ups and downs this trip but the good times have helped me appreciate everything that I was able to accomplish. In the USA, we are so privileged and coming to a culture that is so different was hard for me at first.  Yes, I knew that it was going to be different, but not that different. It was a culture shock that took me by surprise. It took me a few days to get acclimated to the time difference and the city I was in and when I eventually got comfortable I ended up liking it a lot more.

This study abroad trip has given me the opportunity to learn about different cultures and groups of people in a way that I never knew possible. I have learned so much about people, food, music, art, business, marketing and many other things. The way our program was structured allowed us to really immerse ourselves into the culture that we were in. I have learned a lot about myself and what I want to do with my life. This trip offered new and different perspectives from people that challenged mine. We have faced many barriers this trip and knowing that we can overcome them together is empowering and motivating. Before this trip, I was unaware of my desire to travel, but after being here for 3 weeks I can't wait to plan my trip.

My group and our professor, Juan Mundel, are the people who made this trip so life changing. It would not have been the same without these people. They were always there to challenge one another and try to bring out the best in one another. I am very thankful that I had this group by my side throughout this trip because I couldn't have done it without them.Food

My overall experience with food was an incredible one. I have never been able to try so many different types of food in such a short time. My goal in Amsterdam was to eat as much traditional, local Dutch food as possible. When we first arrived we stopped at a local dutch/french restaurant and tried all different types of pattes, cheese, sausage and much more. The options were endless. A standout restaurant in Amsterdam would have to be The Avacado Show. This small lunch joint incorporates Avacado in all of their food dishes. I had an Avacado bowl that was filled with all sorts of vegetables and hummus. I also had a poke bowl that was made entirely out of avocado.

As I reflect on my food experiences throughout Europe, I feel that I am much more cultured and knowledgeable about the way I view food. I have a better understanding of the traditions attached and how drastically it can differ from area to area. I am overall very pleased that I had to opportunity to tour these 3 countries.

I would like to thank my family, friends, Juan Mundel and ASE group for making this such an awesome experience.

By Jack Warren

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Learning and Loving in Amsterdam

Posted on: July 17, 2017

This trip is a study abroad through MSU called Advertising and Society in Europe. The trip is three weeks long and covers a class called Advertising and Society. This class is all about different controversial subjects in advertising and how they affect society as well as how society affects advertising. The first week of the trip is in Barcelona, the second week is in Cannes and the third is in Amsterdam.

In Barcelona, we visited a lot of the city's most popular attractions including the Sagrada Familia and the Gaudi museum. While in Cannes, we spent five days attending the Cannes Lions festival, a festival of creativity for professionals in advertising and media fields. In Amsterdam, we did a boat tour of the city, the Heineken experience and other attractions of the city.

The class work and subject material were very interesting - we took turns presenting the chapter material to the class in groups, which helped us better understand and make connections with what we were learning. We also had to analyze ads we saw in two of the host countries, which helped us connect our class material with the society we were in.

My favorite thing we did for class were the 24 hour challenges. We had three of these challenges, which were essentially advertising briefs that treated us like real advertising professionals who had to create a campaign for a specific purpose. We had to go out in the city and film a commercial or create posters or any other medium we could come up with and present it to the class. These were challenging but fun to create and see what everyone else came up with.

The trip was overall an awesome time. I loved learning more about advertising in an international setting and seeing everything these cities had to offer with other students who think like me. I would totally recommend studying abroad to anyone who is interested. I learned a lot from class and just from being in another continent for a while, and it was a unique experience that will set me apart for the rest of my career at MSU and afterward.

Daily Recap

Monday, June 26

After breakfast at the hotel, we took the metro to class at UVA. During this class, we presented our 24 hour challenges from Cannes, and my team won! The prize was dinner with our group leaders, Juan and Viky, on Wednesday night. After class, my friend Claire and I found a lunch place with awesome sandwiches and freshly made juice. We ate fast because we had to get to a boat tour on the canals!


The boat tour was such a cool way to see all the best parts of the city and learn a little more about its history. I was fascinated by the way the houses along the canals are built - they're on wooden beams, and some look warped from the foundation they're built on. Everything in Amsterdam is built upwards, so the buildings are all super narrow and tall. We also saw lots of houseboats, which are extremely expensive, but if I could, I wouldn't mind living in one of these when I retire someday.


After the tour, Claire and I found coffee and macarons and did homework in the hotel room until our group dinner. The dinner was at Kantjil & de Tigre, which is an Indonesian restaurant. Amsterdam has all kinds of restaurants, which is great for me because I love trying new foods! Indonesian might be a new favorite. I was exhausted, so after a couple hours watching my classmates perform at a karaoke bar down the street, I was ready for bed.

Tuesday, June 27

Class was cancelled so we got to sleep in a little bit, but we also had a 24 hour challenge due tonight. So after breakfast at the hotel, we sat in my room and brainstormed ideas for our advertisements. The challenge was to create two video ads for Nike that promotes its sustainable innovation initiative specifically to the city of Amsterdam. We brainstormed until around 12:40 then walked to our group lunch at a cafe called Luden which was close to our hotel.

Then we got on the metro to get to our agency tour at 3 (although we were very late due to metro issues). The tour was of an agency that is a partnership between DDB and Tribal agencies. The president of DDB gave us a presentation about what their company is about, along with several case studies of the campaigns they've worked on for companies like Heineken and KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines). After the tour we got back to work on our 24 hour challenge. My group and I worked until late, taking only  a short break for dinner at a burger place nearby, and dessert too of course. But we finished it!


Wednesday, June 28

We had our last class of the trip today. We presented our 24 hour challenges and voted (my team didn't win this time) and then started the lecture on children's relationships with advertising as well as tobacco and alcohol in advertising. I loved having class at UVA because all of our chairs were facing the middle, so it really felt like a discussion. Also our trip leader/professor Juan really cared about our insight so it was always a well balanced discussion.

After class we had lunch at Luden again, then had another agency tour. This tour was at Wieden + Kennedy, which is a global, independent, full-service ad agency. I think every single person left wanting a job there. It was such a cool environment and they've done some awesome work. This trip has made me think a lot about what kind of job I want in my future and where I would want to live as well, and it's expanded my understanding of the field of advertising across international borders. After the agency visit, I shopped for a while before heading to the dinner for winners of the 24 hour challenge at a delicious Argentinian steakhouse.

Day 3 -2

Thursday, June 29

Since there was no class, we had lots of time to kill this morning. Some friends and I got up somewhat early and had breakfast at the hotel before heading out for some shopping. We went to an outdoor market with vendors selling all kinds of things. My personal favorites were the jewelry and antiques. I bought some antique postcards that were only four for one euro, and some even have writing still on them.

After spending a lot of time and money there, we had lunch at an avocado restaurant where I had toast with an avocado rose on top and some chips and guacamole. The food was beautiful and delicious! Then we started walking to the Heineken brewery for the tour, the "Heineken Experience." I don't really drink and I'm not particularly interested in how Heineken is made, so this wasn't my favorite, but it was still interesting to tour the brewery and have a proper tasting of the beer. My friend Claire and I headed back early and found somewhere to eat dinner. I had a piece of apple pie for desert because I thought it would be classic Dutch apple pie, and it was almost as good as I hoped. I did a little more shopping (there's ALWAYS more shopping to do here) and then went to bed early.


Friday, June 30

I had to leave a day early for work, so this was my last full day in Europe. After breakfast at the hotel, a group of us wanted to go back to the outdoor market and check out some vintage stores near it. I found a denim jacket for my boyfriend at a store called Episode, then some more gifts for friends and family at the market. At a vintage store called Time Machine, I found some hidden gems too. I let myself buy these things because I figured I'd never find items exactly like this anywhere else. On the way back to the hotel, a torrential downpour started and I got soaked. I changed clothes then went out with a couple friends to the flower market to take photos for our blogs. I wish we were staying long enough to buy some flowers here!


Then we had lunch in a cafe where I had some traditional mini dutch pancakes with butter and powdered sugar and it was one of the best things I've tried on this trip. At some point, Claire and I got separated from the bigger group who were going on a friendship boat tour. We almost got lost in the city looking for it, but then randomly ran into them at the last minute just in time to get on the boat. This tour was incredible - it was an open-top boat with a bar onboard, and we brought some macarons as well. We even witnessed a couple proposing on a bridge with a legendary history of romance (a lot of us were teary-eyed). We finished the night with dinner at a Mexican restaurant and karaoke at a bar by our hotel. I packed and got to bed for a full day of traveling home on Saturday.


By Madeline Davis

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Ciao For Now

Posted on: July 11, 2017

I'm going to attempt to keep the sap to a minimum in this post - however, this may prove to be tricky since in a maximum of 24 hours I'll be in Michigan once again. Back to breathable weather, reliable cell service, and friends & family - yes. But also 4,590 miles away from producing more water (in the form of sweat) than the Trevi Fountain ~while enjoying limone and fragole gelato of course. Twelve hours from the steps en route to AUR where you can see a beautiful panoramic of the city while grappling for breath. One ocean/pond/whatever you call it away from the workers at frequented cafes who have showed simple generosity through free cornettos or an extra warm smile when it's your 3rd morning visit in a row. All the minor occurrences of day to day life in Italy will stick with me the most.

From the "little moments", I have absorbed the greatest amount of knowledge - and joy, really. I've learned to always look out the window when on trains so to not miss the short glimpse of people at stations being unapologetically human or the scenic shot of Mediterranean waters hitting the coast. The Italian style of simply enjoying food will also stay with me. Nights spent leisurely eating dinner for hours with good company have been a highlight. Before, I had always viewed heavy importance placed on food as slightly indulgent - and especially American practice. Now I see how social it can be.

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After being immersed in a different way of life for a few weeks and thriving off the "little moments", I can envision myself living abroad for a longer amount of time - either as a student or for work. Before the trip, I didn't have a lot of faith in myself that I could perfect my Spanish enough to live in a Spanish-speaking country. I can finally understand that it doesn't matter if you are the absolute best at the language - putting effort forth and showing you are trying is perfectly alright. Now I see how much I would have appreciated knowing Italian and having the chance to practice and improve in the language everyday. It's one thing to learn a language in a classroom. It's something completely different to interact with native speakers daily. My Spanish minor has taken on a new importance in my life after my month in a non-English speaking place. It's also motivated me to learn another language in addition to improving my Spanish. Possibly Italian!

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My time here has also showed me my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to living and coexisting with people different from me. Even other students on the trip - all hailing from the same culture of America - have a myriad of views, personalities, expectations and attitudes. I've learned to work on my patience. Over the course of the trip, I have improved in trying to understand and sympathize rather than criticize. Attempting to understand (or sometimes accepting you don't have to understand) others reactions are different from yours has helped to enhance my time in Rome. Even if you are experiencing the same incident, chances are you will have a different take on it than the person next to you. Everyone you meet has value and is valid - no matter their actions or attitudes.

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Whether it was small takeaways - like appreciating a good cappuccino - or large epiphanies - like accepting dissimilar qualities in others - this study abroad has had great impact on me. I hope to go back home a little better off than before.

By Maura Bayagich

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Samsung Welcomes Sparty

Posted on: July 6, 2017

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is the highlight of my study abroad experience so far and I think Sparty would agree. Sparty2

I originally explored studying abroad as a way to experience a new culture and expand the reach of knowledge available to me. The Cannes Lions Festival shares this sentiment, as it revolves around fostering curiosity, creativity, and a general desire to learn more.

Before attending the festival, I thought I was a pretty ambitious and driven person. After hearing from the world’s best minds in the creativity and business industries, I realized I wasn’t aiming high enough.

During lunch breaks, the Samsung building was my favorite place to visit, not only for the free food, but also for the inspiration their space fostered. For instance, they have a sign that reads, “Do what you can’t.” Sparty1

This is the first thing you read when walking into the virtual reality room. I’d always planned my life and career goals around what I know I can do, never around what I can’t do. Samsung’s sign reminded me to stop limiting myself. I can learn the things I can’t do, get better at them, and achieve the goals I’ve only ever viewed as pipe dreams.

Sparty enjoyed his time there too. He especially liked all the cool new gadgets Samsung sprinkled the building with… and the free food of course. Did I mention free food?

By Meghan Kuhr

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Sparty Meets Pope Francis

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Sparty and I were given the opportunity of a lifetime to go to the Vatican and be a part of the Papal audience. I have always dreamed of being able to see the Pope in person and my dreams finally came true. Sparty Pope

An important tip to remember is that women must dress in conservative clothing that covers both her shoulders and knees. As I was waiting in line to be seated for the Mass, I got as close to the barricades where I knew the Pope would be passing. It was incredible to see Pope Francis and be blessed by him. His presence was almost overwhelming and I am so thankful for this experience.

Although the mass was mostly in Italian, it was still very enjoyable. Even if you are not religious, the Vatican is a truly magnificent place filled with so much history and is definitely worth a visit. The Sistine Chapel, the Holy Door, and St. Peter’s Basilica are just a few things that make Vatican City so special.  Pope

Fun Fact: Vatican City is actually its own country and it is considered the holiest place on earth.

By Christina O’Keefe

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Cannes't Believe it's Over

Posted on: June 29, 2017

I recently discovered the comfiest chairs in existence – as well as the relieving fact that I did indeed choose the right major. Both of these epiphanies occurred at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. If the classes I have taken regarding advertising and PR didn’t solidify my choice in major, being surrounded by industry leaders full of new, creative ideas surely did. Maura

There was an enormous amount to do, see and learn everywhere in Cannes. From the talks hosted by unknown and household names – alike – to the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube beaches, the week passed me by quickly. However, some of my favorite moments were the least expected.

After sitting through a talk about Female Filmmakers with Gabourey Sidibe, Amy Emmerich, and Kevin Reilly, I was swayed to attend more talks without well-known companies and hosts. The topic of Filmmaking is not something I’m entirely interested in, but the chemistry each of them had when discussing equality in Hollywood caught my attention. Although I may never have a job involved in film, it expanded my view on how I consume media and television and broadened my knowledge. Not to mention, the importance of racial and gender equality in media was heavily discussed – which should be a concern of everyone who consumes media. Their instant rapport with one another during a usually controversial topic also displayed how difficult conversations can be had when each party is willing to listen.

Maura Canne Wide Photo

The unexpected moments didn’t end there – I also found I learned a lot outside of the Palais, too. It was incredible to see the variety of people attending the festival from all over the world and from all age ranges and backgrounds. On one of the last few days, YouTube beach had a special event for Pride Month. Everything from the deck’s interior to the ice cream and cocktails to movies playing were Pride themed. There was also a dance lesson taught by a Drag Queen (which I sadly missed by 20 minutes) and a Drag Show. A small number of industries which celebrate diversity as openly as advertising does comes to my mind when I consider this past week. Although there is still heavy bias which needs to be surpassed, and surely advertising has been a contributing factor to stereotypes in the past and present, I could not help feeling as though the industry is taking steps forward (even if they are tiny steps) to improve discrimination and inequality in the world. Maura Sparty Canne

This extremely unique experience gave me so much insight to the world of creativity, as well as insight on my own aspirations. Although I didn’t miraculously meet a CEO of my favorite company or run into a celebrity, I truly believe I made the most out of my time in Cannes. The chance to broaden my mind and develop new perspectives was worthwhile.

By Maura Bayagich

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Closing Time

Posted on: June 27, 2017

This blog was originally published on the MSU Mass Media 2017 Blog.

Well, it’s really over. The best five weeks of my life have officially come to a close, and it’s hard for me not to tear up (or sob violently) as I sit at my airport gate writing this. This trip has taught me more about myself, more about others, more about media, more about culture than I thought I could learn in a mere five weeks. At first that seems like a long time, but I could have sworn that I was packing up nervously for my flight to Belfast just yesterday. Julia5

As it relates to mass media, I’ve learned that the atmosphere and environment in Scotland is quite different than in the United States. However, I found it to be most similar to Ireland out of all of the stops on our tour of the United Kingdom.

The Irish and Scottish people communicated in similar ways. First of all, both groups were blunt, fairly loud and looking for a good time. They swear freely, saying words that you wouldn’t dare say aloud in the United States. Just this morning on my cab ride to the airport, my driver was explaining to me his thoughts on the English people. The English are too quiet, according to the driver, and they hold their thoughts back.  He believed that anyone who wasn’t from England and who spoke on the tube would feel extremely out of place since all of the English people would just stare at you. The Scots, however, are blunt and will give it to you straight. You never have to guess what they are thinking. Though not as apparent as in Scotland, I did notice plenty of brutally honest remarks in Ireland.

In the United States, I think there is a fair mix of the two. Since our country is so diverse and has as many different types of people as it does, you will come across people who are passive aggressive and keep to themselves, those who will say every unfiltered thought that crosses their mind and every combination of traits in between.

Whereas London is more similar to the United States in regards to population diversity, Scotland and Ireland seemed to consist of mainly Scottish and mainly Irish people, respectively. The communities were not as diverse as other areas we have visited, or as diverse as it is back in the United States. The Scottish and Irish people seemed to be more driven by their heritage and families. This is evident especially when you stop to consider the importance of tartans and family names in Scotland, along with the naming of children based on religion in Northern Ireland.


Another similarity between Ireland and Scotland is the use of language and dialects. In both countries, English is spoken most commonly, but Gaelic is spoken throughout as well. Aside from that, the Irish and Scottish accents were definitely the most challenging for me to understand in the time we spent there. I feel bad for the locals, actually, because even though I tried my best, sometimes my lack of understanding their thick, fast-paced accents just made both of our lives more difficult.

The use of specific words differed between Scotland and America as well. You wouldn’t think that two predominantly English-speaking countries could have that many differences in language. It was definitely a learning experience, but now I can direct anyone to the toilets, cash machines or lifts. Though at first I was confused at all of the differences and felt silly asking for the “toilets” rather than the bathroom, it started to make much more sense. All of the phrases they use are actually far more straightforward than what we you use. “The ATM? … No… where you get money from… ATM? A-T-M? Oh, sure, cash machine, yes!” I honestly couldn’t even tell you what ATM stands for without looking it up, but cash machine is so simple and tells you exactly what it does. A machine that dispenses cash. Where’s the confusion there, I ask you?

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As far as broadcast media goes, Scotland and America differ quite a bit as well. We visited BBC Scotland in Glasgow and learned all about the function of the British Broadcast Corporation. The BBC is a publicly funded news corporation that doesn’t air commercials and relies on payments from British citizens to survive. They are completely unbiased, and the goal of the company is to be the most accurate, not the fastest to release the news. Since they depend on the public to exist, the public depends on them to give out the most accurate information, not simply speculations that come in quickly during a breaking news event. In the United States, however, publicly funded news companies such as PBS and NPR are not nearly as popular as the biased, privately funded news stations such as CNN and Fox. These type of news stations in the United States seem to make it a priority to be the first to break a story. From the perspective of a viewer, they are more focused on winning the race than presenting full and accurate information. There is no “fake news” coming from the BBC, which is a refreshing change of events.

Similar or different from where I come from, I have truly loved every minute of this trip and every place I have been privileged enough to go to. Each country taught me something new about the world that I never dreamed of knowing. What always intrigued me on this trip was how no matter where we were, whether at a small advertising agency in Cardiff or a major broadcasting company in Glasgow, I looked around and thought, “I could definitely see myself living and working here.” I’ve always dreamed of going abroad, and I could not have asked for a more incredible, formative experience than what I was just given. I definitely am not ready to leave this life that I’ve been living for the past five weeks, but I know that I will take the friends I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned back home with me and carry them with me for the rest of my life. If after five weeks you guys are still reading these blogs, thanks to all of my family for getting me here and for always supporting my crazy dreams.

“Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

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By Julia Swoish

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