The way human beings are hardwired to connect through communication is profound and complex, even within each individual culture! If you are interested in studying communications abroad, you’re probably aware that the way we communicate varies greatly between cultures (who knows, you could be flipping someone the bird when you think you are just giving a friendly thumbs-up!). Earning a degree abroad in communications will provide you with the opportunity to gain new perspectives, be immersed in a new human experience, and maybe even become fluent in another language; this intercultural competency will fast track your resume to the top of employers’ must-hire lists in the future.
WHY EARN A DEGREE ABROAD
Seems like a silly question, right? Okay, okay, we won’t twist your arm. Communications degrees abroad provides students with a number of immeasurable experiences that simply cannot be taught in a classroom. A lot of people will try to tell you communications is a “fluff” degree program. Going abroad to earn your degree in communications is your chance to prove them wrong and really WOW future employers.
Part of what makes communications degrees popular is the field’s reputation for being flexible. Supplementing your communications degree with international experience is like slathering peanut butter on an Oreo. Perhaps the most valuable thing about earning a communications degree abroad is the way in which this newfound perspective will open doors to higher levels of cultural competence and inevitably change the way you personally communicate. You will be able to improve on your ability to elaborate and share a connection with others in a way that a domestic communications degree program doesn’t allow for.
Communication manifests itself in very different ways around the world and you will, not surprisingly, discover that you know less about communication than you thought; do NOT let that deter you. Earning a communications degree abroad is a humbling opportunity where true learning in its purest form transpires.
Choosing a location for your communications degree abroad is both exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. To help narrow down your search, begin by thinking about the local language.
Are you fluent in another language? Language is the primary form of communication and having a few extra ones in your back pocket can be helpful to say the least. If you’re drawn to hablar español, Argentina is home to some of the most renowned universities in South America, including the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA), Universidad Argentina de la Empresa, Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires, and Universidad de Belgrano. Of of these are ideal locations for getting an international master’s degree in communications. Buenos Aires, especially, is a vibrant city that is dripping with passion. Immerse yourself in the nightlife, learn to tango, see a fútbol match, the possibilities are endless (just don’t forget to eat steak!).
Another solid option for communications degrees seekers is Belgium. This tiny country is more than just waffles and chocolate. In fact, if you’re keen to master multiple languages, you can knock out three in one while getting a communications degree at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies. French, German, AND Dutch are all national languages in Belgium, so it is a comm major’s dream!
It is easier to learn a new language if you are immersed in the culture. Hone in on cultures that interest you or where you see yourself and your future career being involved. Many universities in lavish Middle Eastern cities, such as Dubai, have communications degree program options that can ease you into the whole language barrier situation. There is also a concentration of distinguished universities in London and many others scattered around England that provide the comfort of courses taught in English (and work on your English accent!).
Is learning a new language necessary? Not at all. Both the aforementioned England as well as Australia are beautiful, practical places to earn a communications degree abroad (although the slang may feel like you’re on another planet). Top ranked universities with campuses scattered across the continent include the National University of Australia and the University of Sydney. Communications degree-seeking students can enjoy the relaxed beach lifestyle or engage in the bustling city life.
ACADEMICS & DEGREES
Communications is a broad field with various related sub-disciplines, thus making it interdisciplinary in nature. Health, technology, environmental, and mass media communications are a just a few examples of sub-concentrations that you’ll be able to choose from at almost any institution abroad. The opportunity to earn your advanced degree in communications in any of these fields is also very possible.
Keep an eye out for the chance to enhance your professional qualifications and beef up your resume with internships that correspond to your studies while earning your communications degree abroad. Internships will put you in a position to be a top candidate for future jobs, especially those with a significant global influence.
Communications courses, even abroad, are usually broken down into smaller components, such as broadcasting, journalism, and public relations. In general, all communications degree programs will involve taking English courses, to improve writing and public speaking, and a few extras like communications laws and ethics. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to practice giving speeches in your newly acquired second language!
Most communications degree programs abroad are similarly structured to traditional U.S. universities and have comparable admissions requirements. If you plan on attending a school in a country where English is not the first language, be sure and check for specific language requirements.
BENEFITS & CHALLENGES
Travail to Prevail. Traveling is not always as appealing as the picture on the cover of a study abroad brochure. The word travel is derived from the word travail, which means painful or laborious effort. Meaningful travel promises trials, but meaningful travel also promises a giant helping of strength, confidence, and courage you didn’t know you had in you.
Listen up. Traveling while you’re young is the number one prescribed piece of advice mentors are handing out. Communication is a two way street and listening is perhaps the road less traveled. Your listening skills will subconsciously progress as you attempt to navigate a new culture. Earning a degree in communications abroad is a great opportunity to expand your self-awareness, and it won’t hurt to do some adventuring with new friends on the weekends instead of falling to the lure of a red solo cup.
Interact. Your ability to adapt in new situations and be able to clearly communicate your thoughts is a rare and valuable life skill that will enhance your education and professional skills. Interaction is a key aspect of communication and meeting people from all over the world who are in the same boat as you is one of the most valuable parts of earning your communications degree abroad; it also gives you a great head start to the necessary evil of networking.
Meaningful travel is a response to a promise of purpose and fulfilled passion that is deeply desired. Earning a degree abroad in communications provides you with a life changing opportunity, so travel meaningfully! And remember, everyone communicates, but only few connect.