Communication Students Travel to London to Learn about Public Relations

Posted: February 23, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski and Stephanie Hay

Michael Dickerson, professor of communication, recently gave 15 students real-world experience by leading a trip to the United Kingdom to study international public relations. His course, COMM 399, International Public Relations, included a tour and extensive information sessions with 10 major international organizations and companies such as the Military Public Affairs Office, the Times of London, and the British Broadcasting Company (BBC).

Each visit provided in-depth insight into the workings and challenges of corporate public affairs, nonprofit public relations, government public affairs, and international public relations companies. Students met in a classroom-type setting each afternoon after the visits to discuss the information. They also had to write a paper and take a final exam to complete the course.

Visiting the Times of London newspaper, students learned about the workings of the local, national, and international news desks. One of their hosts pointed out that the newspaper was older than the United States. At the BBC, they learned about the challenges of public broadcasting fundraising. Students also visited the Royal Aeronautical Society, one of the world’s oldest professional societies.

Communication student Sara Hamidi said she reaped personal benefits from her trip to London. “This was the first time I have been so far away from home. I learned that there is so much more to the world and to life. Since going to London, I have made a promise to myself that I am going to travel at least once a year. I really want to explore the world because there is so much out there,” she said.

Dickerson saw the students grow professionally, too. “All the students were very cooperative and accommodating, making the required appointments through rain and wind and very cold conditions,” he said. “Without exception, the students were on time, prepared for the meetings, and took time to personally thank the presenters.”

This is the second time that Dickerson has taught this course abroad, and he plans to offer it again.

communication class
Communication students visited the Times of London among other media outlets in the United Kingdom as part of their public relations course.
Courtesy Michael Dickerson

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