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The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

College launches public relations, sports communication programs in Sydney, Australia


The college launched its first two Australia Global Pathways in public relations and sports communication in Sydney during the 2018-2019 academic year.

For the PR program, 12 students from different departments and faculty member Mary Anne Taylor traveled to Sydney over winter break from Dec. 30 to Jan. 12. Students in the sports communication program with faculty Michael Park will leave on May 22, according to the college’s website. Both trips last for two weeks.

The PR Global Pathways trip costs $3,595 and includes local transportation and residential fees. The PR course which students attended during the program counted as one of the courses they would take in the coming spring semester. Students will pay for the tuition in the spring 2019 semester instead of paying before the start of the program.

The sports communication Global Pathways trip costs $13,995, which is the highest among all eight-credit summer global pathway programs with an average price of about $10,000, including local transportation, residential, tuition, and program fees. Students can earn eight academic credits with one in either CC335 Sports as Soft Power or CC337 Topics in Sports Communication and another provided by faculty members from an Australian university. The cost does not include food or airfare.

“It’s a beautiful city,” David Griffin, the director of the education abroad and domestic programs, said in an interview. “I can’t imagine that the student would be unhappy there. It’s really got everything that you could possibly want in a city, plus warm weather.”

Over 14 days, students learned PR basics in and out of the classrooms of University of Technology Sydney by having in-class lectures and by sightseeing. The class had four units, and students went outside of the classroom for every unit except for the first, the basic principles of PR,

Students visited the Sydney Olympic Park for the sports communication unit, Parliament House for the political communication unit, and Sydney Opera House for the cultural recognition unit. Students spent an equal amount of time inside and outside of the classroom, Anne Taylor, the faculty member who traveled with students, said.

“[Students should] realize that academic experience does not just mean the time in the classroom. To me, the cultural experiences, the site visits, and the things we did outside of the classroom … is the true academic experience,” Taylor said.

Madison Doelling, a junior writing, literature and publishing major, said her favorite part of the program was the balance of class and city exploration. She said that, after attending a one-and-a-half-hour class in the morning, students could spend the rest of the day going around the Sydney doing group work and reconvene for another hour in the afternoon.

If you pay that money, you don’t want to just stay in the classroom, which we can do here,” Doelling said.

The college partnered with CAPA Global Education Network, a company that provides study abroad programs with classrooms and housing services for students. During the winter program, Emerson students attend classes in a building rented by CAPA at the University of Technology Sydney.

CAPA also provides students with apartments outside of the university that include kitchens and independent bathrooms in both summer and winter programs. Emerson students stay in a building with students from other institutions.

The college plans to create more global pathways programs to attract more students domestically and internationally, Griffin said.

Before sending students to Australia, Dean of the College of Communication Raul Reis,  Communication Studies Chair Gregory Payne, and Griffin went to Sydney in summer 2018 to look over the facilities and to talk to the administration and faculty members at the University of Technology Sydney.

“We decided to come up with something that we thought would be attractive not to just the Emerson students, but to an outside population,” Griffin said.

In the upcoming summer Australia program, Griffin said students may have the opportunity to take classes offered by other universities in Australia. Depending on classroom space, students from other institutions partnered with CAPA may join classes taught by Emerson professors.

“Students will have the opportunity not just to do this particular program, but also to interact with students from all over the world,” Griffin said.

Griffin said President M. Lee Pelton and the Office of Education Abroad and Domestic Programs want to create international study abroad programs available to Emerson students at any time of the year.

“Hopefully, it will attract students to Emerson in Boston—it’s also a way of getting the Emerson name out into a different part of the world,” Griffin said.


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