I see London, I see France, I see SJMC students with a study abroad chance

IMG_5520

Study Abroad 2015: Aisling Niestroy and Rebecca Silvas at the Eiffel Tower

Join us next Friday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. in Old Main 320 for our first information session about the 2016 London-Paris study abroad opportunity.

The program includes class meetings on campus in Summer II before the 12-day media and cultural immersion trip to two of the world’s top capital cities, from July 18-July 29.

Students will receive six credit hours and choose from Strategic Communication, Travel Writing, International Communication, International Advertising/ PR Issues or an Independent study.

The program also includes visits to leading global media companies such as the BBC, The Guardian, Agence France Presse, and Weber-Shandwick and international organizations such as UNESCO and Sorbonne University. Cultural tours of the two cities include a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London.

Academic Program Director Dr. Sandy Rao and Dr. Bruce Smith will be accompanying students on the trip.They have each been to six continents around the globe and are highly experienced professors. Also accompanying the group will be Study Abroad Program Assistant Mr. Harry Bowers.

Read more on the blog from graduate student, Aisling Niestroy’s and 10 things she learned from last year’s trip and AJ Arreguin’s post about their tour of the BBC in London.

Students at the BBC in London

Study Abroad 2015: Students at the BBC in London

 

Advertisements

10 Things I Learned on the SJMC Study Abroad Trip

Story by SJMC Study Abroad graduate student, Aisling Niestroy:

Twenty-nine inspired students. Three encouraging faculty members. Two historic countries. One unforgettable experience. The School of Journalism and Mass Communication sponsored a Study Abroad trip to London and Paris in June, and SJMC graduate assistant Aisling Niestroy shared what she learned during her time abroad.

 

The best thing about the SJMC Study Abroad program was that the majority of “book learning” was completed prior to leaving the country. We attended classes, conducted research, read articles and turned in assignments the week before beginning our journey. This afforded us the opportunity not only to learn from the scheduled media organization visits, but from the unforgettable experience of spending time in another country.

  1. Customs are different, but not necessarily foreign.
    You might be in a foreign country, but you don’t have to act like it. Respect that people do things differently. If you ask your server to split the check multiple ways, you are likely to receive a dirty look. Pay attention to how people interact, how they carry themselves in public, and try not to stick out like a sore thumb.
  1. People don’t hate Americans.
    If they do, they hide it well. While the French might have been annoyed with my crummy accent, they seemed appreciative I was making an effort to speak their language. The majority of people I met were really nice, especially when I dropped my wallet at the hotel in Paris, or when I left my phone in the back of a cab in Dublin. Both were returned to me. It helped that I tried to hold an honest conversation with every person I came into contact with. When you’re kind to others, they’re usually kind to you.
  1. Conversion rates will get you.
    Believe me when I say you can buy too many souvenirs. It is unfortunate for both your wallet and your luggage. Although the things you buy may seem less expensive, they usually aren’t in the long run. As for the British Pound, say goodbye to half of your money.
  1. The best plan is a flexible one.
    I received this same advice before attending SXSW Interactive. Going with the flow is one of your best options when exploring a new city. You can plan a day down to the minute, but something might happen to derail it, or something better might come along and change your mind.
  1. Tour, but don’t stick to the tourist places.
    I went on a different kind of tour in every city – a bike and boat tour in Paris, a self-guided walking tour in London, and an evening bus tour in Dublin. Tours are a great way to learn about the history and culture of a place, and tour guides are the perfect people to ask for city suggestions. I turned to my tour guides for recommendations of non-tourist spots, and they did not disappoint. Another good way to discover local hangouts and restaurants is to wander and get lost (but not so lost you can’t find the way home).
IMG_5520

Becca Silvas, my study abroad roommate and fellow graduate student, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Fat Tire Bike Tour around Paris. The Eiffel Tower was my absolute favorite sight.

 

  1. Try everything.
    As a picky eater, I promised myself I would try absolutely everything before deciding I didn’t like it. So I did, and more often than not, I enjoyed it. However, this doesn’t just extend to food. Not a fan of museums, but they’re free in London? Go. You never know what you’ll fall in love with.
IMG_8133

The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History was so interesting (and free). I discovered it while walking around alone in Dublin.

 

  1. Being abroad with friends is fun, but spending time alone is so good.
    I spent my last two days in Dublin by myself. At first, being alone made me nervous, but then I started to enjoy it. Because I didn’t have to coordinate my plans with anyone else’s, I was able to visit more sights and take more time appreciating what was around me.
  1. People love to share their passions with you.
    After listening to the employees at PR firm Weber Shandwick talk so highly of their jobs, I contemplated switching career paths. Even my various tour guides made me envious of what they do. Talking to people about the things they love is a wonderful way to turn strangers into acquaintances.
IMG_6875

Weber Shandwick put on quite a presentation for the group during our visit to their offices in London.

 

  1. Writing is a required skill for any media job.
    Someone mentioned the importance of writing and communication skills at every business visit. It didn’t matter if the company was focused on journalism or public relations. Good writers make better employees.
  1. Everyone has pride for where they come from.
    And they are not afraid to tell you all about it. They’re also often curious about where you’re from (even more so if it’s a recognizable place like Texas). I swapped hometown pride stories with many people I met throughout my trip, including the three Irish Aislings I found in Dublin. They practically convinced me to never come home.

For the most part, I was pretty confident I knew what to expect when I arrived in Europe. Thankfully, I was wrong. The study abroad program changed my life, and I am confident it can do the same for you.

Taking a Tour: BBC in London

Story by SJMC Study Abroad graduate student, AJ Arreguin:

The British Broadcasting Corporation is one of the most recognizable, highly creditable news organizations in the world. From local to worldwide news coverage, the BBC brings the highest quality of news from journalists that reach outlets such as radio, television and social media. Unlike some news companies around the world that are owned by the government, BBC operates by an annual licensing fee, which citizens of England pay in order to run radio, television broadcasts and premiere shows such as Doctor Who, The Office (English version) and many more. corporation

Courtyard at the BBC

Courtyard at the BBC

The BBC headquarters is located in London (between Portland Place and Langham Place) and contains the BBC Broadcasting House with television studios, radio studios, the main newsroom (where some of the BBC program is recorded), and a small theatre boasting concerts held by A-list musicians.

Our Tour
After getting through security and getting our backpacks and purses scanned and checked, we waited in a lobby that showcased TARDIS, the Doctor Who famous telephone booth, in front of a small gift shop overlooking the BBC Newsroom. Our tour guide first provided us a brief overview of the history of the BBC and its mission statement toward the people of Britain and viewers from around the world. During this brief lecture, we stood in front of a wall made of glass that overlooked the hundreds of employees and desk of the BBC Newsroom. As the tour went on, the guide paused and mentioned that a live weather report was happening. Sure enough, we saw the weatherman a few feet away and on the tube. Finally, we traveled from the newsroom to the studio station, which was in another building that had radio and television sets. Along the way, we passed through historical pieces from the longevity of the BBC, from the microphone used by Edward R. Murrow in World War II broadcastings, to all the memorabilia from celebrities. Walking through the Broadcasting House was a mass communication history lesson in itself.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After viewing the theatre, radio and television studio, it was time for us to have a bit of fun. The tour allows participants to take part in a newscast and small, scripted play. After it was all said and done, the BBC tour was a must-do if you catch yourself in London. It does not matter if you’re a journalist major, advertising major or public relations major, there is something to learn and grasp from the BBC.

Studio One Panoramic

Studio One Panoramic

For more information on how to book your tour in advance for the BBC Broadcasting House, please visit their website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tours/.

Strategic Opportunities for Students to Transfer to Texas State

Harry BowersOn November 24, Assistant Director Harry Bowers met with Marianne Odem, Chair of the Media Communication Department at San Antonio College (SAC), and members of her faculty. The goal of the meeting was to review changes to both schools’ institutional core and program curricula, and to review and develop strategies to maximize opportunities for two-year college students planning to transfer to Texas State. Assistant Director, Bowers was honored to be informed by SAC that the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is about the most student-centered institution that San Antonio College has worked with in assisting transfer students.

For more information about The Media Communication Department at the San Antonio College (SAC), please visit http://www.alamo.edu/sac/mediacomm/.

SJMC offers study abroad class in 2014

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication is proud to be hosting a study abroad class during the summer of 2014 in the United Kingdom! Spearheaded by Drs. Sandhya Rao and Bruce Smith, the class will travel to London, Edinburgh and Cardiff.

What You Will Learn
The program’s theme is ‘Global media in the United Kingdom.’ The program includes class meetings on campus and online before and after the 10-12 day cultural and media immersion trip to three capital cities of the UK. The program will include field trips to international media organizations and cultural excursions. Known for its leading media companies including broadcast companies such as the BBC and  ITV, newspapers such as The Daily TelegraphThe Guardian, international news organizations such as the Reuters, and public relations firms such as Taylor Herring, the  UK will provide an amazing global media experience. Students may choose from public relations, media writing (travel emphasis) and international communication or an independent study.

The Cities
LondonLondon, the capital of England, is a modern global metropolis, and world business center housing hundreds of international companies, and a thriving cultural center drawing millions of visitors from all over the world. Standing on River Thames, London has a history of nearly 2000 years and was a site for the 1948 and 2012 Olympics. A culturally vibrant city, London offers a wide range of top class cultural attractions including theatres, museums, art galleries, music converts and shopping centers. Landmarks such as the Buckingham Palace, the seat of British Monarchy, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower Bridge and Westminster Abbey are known as much for their history as their architecture.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is known for its banking industry. Declared as the first UNESCO City of Literature, the city is host to many international festivals. Located about 400 miles to the North East of London, it is the second most popular tourist destination after London.  Edinburgh is a World Heritage Site, and has historical sites including the Edinburgh Castle, the Old and New Towns, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is a port city located 124 miles West of London and belongs to the Eurocities network of the largest European cities. In addition to a beach front, gardens, museums, historical sites, and sporting venues, Cardiff houses a large independent TV production center with 6,000 employees.

More information and details on the course will be available soon. Questions may be directed to Sandhya Rao at sr02@txstate.edu.

International Studies honor student Hylary Ahrendt recognizes Dr. Sandy Rao for sharing her expertise and support

In her “Be A Bobcat” interview, International Studies honor student Hylary Ahrendt recognizes Dr. Sandy Rao for sharing her expertise and support. Ahrendt completed projects in Germany and India as part of her honors coursework.  Dr. Rao is Professor and Graduate Director in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Cultural Enlightenment and International Connections

scholarsDr. Cindy Royal traverses Europe, works with journalists, attends ICA:

As a college professor, I often get to attend academic conferences, which can take place at many locales around the globe. This summer, I chose to attend the International Communication Association (ICA) conference in London. Since I was going to travel so far, I decided to make a trip out of it, both personal and professional. The first two weeks were mostly for fun. I had an amazing visit to Italy, with a stop off in Paris before heading to London for the professional part of my journey.

It was my first time in Italy, and I was enthralled by the beauty, culture and food of each city. Rome is a thriving metropolis integrating modern and ancient in unexpected ways. My hotel was right next to the Pantheon, one of the oldest buildings in continuous use in the city. I visited the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and Ruins and the Vatican and Sistine Chapel. I even got to see the Pope as he greeted the crowd before a public mass.

In Florence, I enjoyed the Uffizi and Accademie galleries, where I saw many wonderful works including Michelangelo’s Statue of David. I walked the steps of the Boboli Gardens and Piazzale Michelangelo. From Florence, I was able to take a quick train trip to Lucca, where I rented a bike to tour the city’s enclosed walls. All the walking and biking helped to work off the delicious pizza, pasta and gelato I enjoyed every day.

Venice was incredibly beautiful, every square inch of it. The colorful buildings surrounding the canals make for a spectacular landscape. It was fun to explore and get lost along its alleys and byways.

After Italy, I made a stop in Paris, which required a new language and a change of cuisine. In Paris, I visited the Musee d’Orsay, Montmartre and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. I had the opportunity to meet with scholars Sylvain Parasie of Paris Est University and Eric Dagiral of Paris Descartes University who do research in the area of interactive news. They are both in the sociology departments at their respective universities, and I enjoyed sharing the details of our shared interests.

My next and final stop was London. I spent 12 days in the UK, continuing some sightseeing, but moving on to the professional part of my trip. While in the UK, I visited with Jonathan Hewett and George Brock at City University’s Interactive Journalism Master’s Program, Thanassis Tiropanis and Leslie Carr in the Web Science Program at Southampton University and Eric Meyer and Ralph Schroeder at Oxford University’s Internet Institute.  I took great inspiration from their progressive and interdisciplinary approaches.

I also had the opportunity to work at the Guardian with their Interactive News team. I spent three days working with Rich Harris, Jonathan Richards, Robin Beitra and others. While there, I assisted with debugging a Web scraping program and attended meetings on the Firestorm multimedia project and best practices in Web development. It was definitely a valuable and enriching experience for which I am grateful.

The personal highlights in London were visits to the Tate Modern Gallery and the David Bowie Exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I also loved walking around Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Soho. And I got to see the London production of Book of Mormon and attended a concert by the U.S. band The Breeders at the London Forum. I also got to spend time with Alex Hering, a 2010 Texas State graduate now working and living in London.

The final stop on my trip was the conference. ICA brings together scholars from around the world covering all aspects of communication. I attended panels on data and multimedia journalism, attended the launch of the new Digital Journalism academic journal and got to spend time with friends and academic colleagues Amy Schmitz-Weiss (San Diego State University), Alfred Hermida (University of British Columbia), Carrie Brown Smith (University of Memphis), Corinne Weisgerber (St. Edward’s University), Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh (Butler University), Andrea Hickerson (Rochester Institute of Technology) and more.

You can see more pictures from my trip at cindyroyal.tumblr.com.

Now that I am home, things are a bit of a blur, and I am trying to organize my thoughts around all these new and enlightening experiences. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to explore these beautiful places. I will be spending the next few weeks teaching summer school and prepping for the Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford, starting in September.

Students explore free speech laws through class blog

Honors Students

Martinez’s students in his Free Speech and Free Press honors class

Featured Work: Student Free Speech and Free Press Blog: 

Gilbert Martinez’s spring Free Speech and Free Press honors class has done an outstanding job contributing to a class blog, “Free Speech and Free Press Around the World.” For the blog, each student was required to choose a foreign county of his/her choice and research free speech and free press issues in that country. Then, students analyzed those issues and compared them with free speech and press rights in the United States. Each essay were added to the blog Martinez created last year, so the spring semester’s essays are intermingled with the essays from the honors students last spring.

There are now 27 countries covered on the website. New essays this semester include Libya, Israel, North Korea, Syria, Turkey, New Zealand, Croatia, France, Spain and Canada. The project tied in nicely with the Common Experience theme of the Global Odyssey.

Feel free to check out the above link to the blog. We are very pleased with the work of Martinez’s honors students.