One of my favorite aspects of the public relations field is the wide range of industries that it covers, including fashion, food and beverage, entertainment, technology, and travel PR. Each of these elements of public relations can be found around nearly every street corner in Paris, and over the past month that I have spent in France I have gained just as much insight into the PR profession outside of the classroom as I have in my lectures.
A growing trend in the world of public relations, as well as in many other careers, is the importance of a strong understanding of cultural differences and a respect for diversity. This is due to the realization that in order to effectively communicate to all audiences, public relations professionals must fully understand their consumers and the backgrounds they come from. Paris is among the most culturally diverse cities in the world, thereby making it an ideal study abroad location for any public relations major with an aspiration to increase their intercultural awareness.
CEA classes have also helped immensely with my immersion into French culture as they largely encourage stepping away from our American perspective and taking on a more well-rounded, global point of view. For example, I am taking a course called Media and Democracy in the Digital Age, in which we are required to keep up to date on global news, but must acquire our information from non-American sources in order to branch out of our typical media lens. News media plays an essential role in any public relations career, so I am grateful to have developed a sense of familiarity with diverse news outlets.
Another CEA course that I have found extremely useful to both my major and my personal growth is Communication and Global Competence -- the title says it all! Not only do we work to analyze cultural differences between the U.S., France, and other nations, but we actually attend class in a French university with local students for half of the semester. My experience with this class in particular combined with my overall experience in Paris has already better equipped me for the professional world, and I would recommend Paris as a study abroad location to any public relations student who is looking to live in a city that will expand their global perspective on the industry!
Kylie Forster is the Fall 2019 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France, and is currently studying at Marist College.