By: Hanna Espie, Account Associate

This summer, I was fortunate to be a part of the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences’ Photo Communication Study Abroad program—phew quite a title! The program, run by Professors Howard Bossen and Darcy Greene of the MSU Department of Journalism, commenced in Prague and travelled to Arles, France; Paris, France; Swanage, England; and Edinburgh, Scotland.

Copyright 2012 Hanna Espie

The program focused on elements of photography, the how to-s of using a camera and composition of a photograph—what makes a good picture, all while making photographs for the different projects in each city. As if learning how to create photographs in extraordinary places around Europe was not enough, I was able to meet and talk with world-renown photography professionals.

It is easy to forget that a study abroad program is an excellent networking opportunity. As intimidating as it can be to say ‘Hi…yeah, I like to take pictures’ over a mouthful of fresh scones to someone who has been working longer than I have been alive, the wisdom to be had makes any injured pride undeniably worth it.

Copyright 2012 Hanna Espie

As up and coming public relations professionals, to say we need all the help we can get is an understatement. Skills such as networking, being able to identify effective photographs or other media for a campaign, and to communicate in a situation where English is not the predominant language is essential. Even learning which careers or potential living locations are or are not attractive options can be valuable. A study abroad experience can be, at first glance, the obscure resource that reveals such information and ends up being the defining moment in what kind of career is desirable to one person or another.

Where have you found the greatest networking opportunities? Tell us in the comment section below. And visit the 2012 photo communication blog at http://www.2012photocomm.wordpress.com.

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