Students from BYU travel all over the world to experience different cultures and learn in different environments. Whether for their major or for fun, students can do everything from reporting for the Olympics to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
As the 2020 Summer Olympics start on July 24, the BYU School of Communications will be sending a few students to experience and report on the Tokyo Games.
Miles Romney, a professor and faculty director accompanying the program, talked about some of the things student participants should expect while in the study abroad program.
Before the Olympics start, Romney explained that participants will be writing a lot of preview pieces on the athletes and the coaches, as well as athletes who are trying to get to the Olympics.
“Once we get to the Olympics, a lot of that’s going to be a lot of social storytelling: how the athletes are doing. We’re going to try and follow up with them as they’re out there,” Romney said. “Most of the heavy lifting for the multimedia experience is going to happen before we actually get to Tokyo.”
Although he acknowledged that it will be difficult, Romney said, “It’s going to be probably something that, if it all goes well, that these students will look back on as maybe the crown jewel of their experience here at BYU.”
Students on this study abroad will visit Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Panama and Costa Rica as they learn about international business. Tentative business visits include big companies such as Google, Ford, Nike, Amazon and Procter & Gamble.
In addition to these business visits, Bruce Money, trip director and executive director of the Global Management Center, talked about the cultural visits the students will make on the study abroad.
“It’s exciting,” Money said. “I mean, wow, a lot of things on people’s lists: Machu Picchu and Panama Canal and Iguazu Falls.”
Although this study abroad is for business, according to Money, any major can be accepted. It is assumed that applicants have a “ground level of understanding with business and with Latin America,” he said.
One of the things that sets this study abroad apart from the others is the Global Management Certificate each participant can receive at the end of the program and it’s courses — a certificate that Money calls a “minor plus.”
Money explained that in order to receive this certificate, there are certain classes a student is required to take and language experience they must gain in addition to the excursions offered by the study abroad. For those who are not interested in learning a second language, there is also an English version of the certificate that requires additional classes.
This public relations study abroad program provides students with the opportunity to tour Italy and Austria while becoming educated on international social issues. Though this program is open to all majors, it is specifically geared toward people who are interested in social media and public relations.
Brian Smith, an associate professor in public relations and one of the faculty members directing the program, talked about some of the things students will be learning on this study abroad.
“We’re going abroad to create influence, to build awareness and create influence on social media for some issues that are going on in Italy and Austria,” Smith said.
In learning about social issues in these countries, students can choose what they want to focus on. Smith cited responsible tourism as an example.
“Tourism is a destroyer of societies — it can be,” Smith said. “Responsible tourism is such a big issue right now, and so they can build social media around that issue.”
He explained that social media is not just about posting, but also about strategy and campaigning.
About study abroad opportunities, Smith said “When you’re in a different country for a dedicated professional activity like this, you build so much more around your own career ambitions.”
From climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to going on a safari in the Serengeti, students on this study abroad will experience both the landscape and culture of Tanzania.
Ryan Jensen, Geography Department chairperson and co-director of the study abroad, said the study abroad does not focus on research. Though they do usually reserve a day for that, most of it is experiential learning.
When talking about the impact the study abroad has made on student’s lives, Jensen didn’t hesitate.
“Life changing,” Jensen said, recalling some of the responses he received from students. “When can I go again?”
Nicole Summers, one of the first students to participate in the program, told a story about the selflessness of a Tanzanian her group talked to while on the study abroad.
“One of the girls who went was like, ‘Oh I like your shirt,'” Summers said, talking about an exchange between a group member and a friendly Tanzanian. “He’s like, ‘Oh, you like it? Here, I’ll give it to you.’ And he goes to take it off and we’re like, ‘No, no, no; you don’t need to take it off.'”
In reflecting on Tanzanian culture, Summers said this:
“Something really interesting about the culture is that they were willing to give anything and everything to you. Because they just really cared about you genuinely as a person.”
Other international study opportunities, including internships, can be explored at the Kennedy Center website under “Find Your Program.” These programs include everything from archaeology in Petra, Jordan, to language and cultural studies in Nanjing, China. There is even a chocolate internship based in Germany for culinary arts majors.
Information on these and other opportunities, as well as scholarships and financial aid for international study programs, can be found on the Kennedy Center website. Each program has its own application deadlines, dates and prerequisite study abroad classes. This information and more can be found on each program’s respective pages.