Annie McKitirick in Austria
Studies abroad connect BPR student with world-leading marketing talent
Annie McKitirick is a recent Mount Public Relations graduate who took full advantage of an opportunity to travel and get out of her comfort zone.
Through the Mount’s Global Engagement OfficeAnnie was able to take the trip of a lifetime, studying at partner university for an entire semester.
Now back at the Mount to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Communications, Annie reflects on her experience abroad as “life changing” and strongly encourages other students to take the plunge.
Sixteen countries in one semester
Exchange opportunities bring many advantages for students – the experience itself being one of them, but also opportunities related to becoming more globally engaged, including future employment and networking opportunities.
Reflecting on her time abroad, Annie recounts a tale of learning, friendship, travel, culture and even fitness. “The study abroad program allowed me to experience a new culture, learn a new language, and immerse myself in a new community,” she says.
Leaving home can be hard, but Annie describes the warm welcome that made Vienna feel more like home. “The International Team in Vienna did a wonderful job of welcoming its new students through orientation!” she says. During the exchange period, students come from all over the world to study at Notes Annie, “I met six girls at orientation who I considered my best friends, these girls and I traveled around Vienna and Europe together. I still talk to them almost every day.”
The Global Engagement Office at the Mount encourages students to travel while on exchange to gain as diverse and culturally rich an experience as possible. Annie took full advantage of her location and travelled to an astounding 16 countries while in Europe including: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Slovakia, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Czech, Greece, Slovenia, Hungary, Ireland, England, Scotland, and Vatican City.
“I chose Vienna because it was a great central location for being able to travel,” says Annie. “I valued the opportunity to experience the cultures in different countries and the opportunity to adapt to change. And I am continuing to learn German in Canada.”
A chance to learn a whole new perspective
Apart from the travelling and extracurricular opportunities, Annie’s in-class experiences abroad we’re far from normal in the best way possible. “I took courses that I could not have taken otherwise and learned from people in different fields with different backgrounds than me.”
She recounts the special memories of each one of her professors abroad, one of them being her social media professor: “Maria, teaches at the University of Miami, and comes to Vienna for a week each year to teach. She was the Public Relations Director for ESPN and for the Super Bowl XXV and XLI—needless to say, she is my idol. She told us stories about her interactions with Kim Kardashian, David Beckham and other celebrities. Maria talked about the benefits of social media and related the course principles to real life. I thoroughly enjoyed her class.” Annie also had an opportunity to present a marketing strategy to the Austria-based Volva marketing team. “They came into our class and gave us a really good review of our presentation and ideas.”
A special kind of sight-seeing
And despite being a world away from home, Annie kept true to a goal she set before leaving – to run a half marathon.
Training became a sight-seeing opportunity. “I woke up early every morning in Vienna to run. Running allowed me to explore the city in a different way. I quickly realized my apartment was a mile away from the Donau River. I ran past castles, monuments, and different parks. I found a new sight every day.”
On her 21st birthday, and with her mother be her side, Annie successfully complete the Vienna City Half Marathon.
Today, Annie longs to return to Vienna and the life-long friends she made (though social media still keeps them close). She’s even planning a career in that direction as she’s set her sights on heading to Salzburg, an Austrian city that borders Germany, with the hopes of one day working at the Red Bull Headquarters there.
Annie is now an active ambassador for the exchange program at the Mount and wants to encourage other students that may be considering a semester a broad to make the leap. “To future students who are considering going abroad: DO IT! I can thank this experience for allowing me to travel, socialize, and learn in a new country. I made life-long friends. I learned a new language. The overall experience outweighs the anxiety of taking off!”
Article retrieved from https://www.msvu.ca/en/home/aboutus/news/AnnieMcKitirickprofile.aspx
Autumn Fiske in Spain
Having visited Spain as a tourist, I was aware of how exciting and interesting it is to be there. Before my last year of university, I wanted to do something that had meaning and was a bit crazy. This year, while living in the South of Spain, I worked for a hotel and studied tourism in the Spanish language and took many vacations around Europe. Not only do I now have a second language, but also world travel experience, new friends, and a clear idea of what I want to do with my life when I return to Canada: to work in Travel Consultancy to share the joys and benefits of travelling with others.
Lauren Perry in Sweden
Sometimes it is kind of neat to sit back and realize that my study abroad is no longer a plan, I got my visa, and that I am actually in Sweden and that Monday marked the ½ waypoint of my trip. While still at the Mount, I started questioning my decision to do a study abroad term but, I knew it would be an experience I would never forget and that I would regret it if I did not do it. I feel this trip will allow me to become more independent and I have already overcome a lot of fears simply by coming here. I am truly thankful for this opportunity and feel I have already noticed a lot that is different form home, have learned a lot, enjoyed a Michael Bublé concert, and have had countless amazing trips exploring Stockholm. Before coming, I knew hardly anything about Sweden and knew only a few Swedish phrases. Now, I understand that Sweden is much more than a cold, grey place with lots of H&M’s and Ikea’s Do you know about the Swedish tradition of ‘fika’? I didn’t before coming… I chose this school as my credits would transfer back to the Mount, and I knew experiencing any new culture would be exciting. Already, I have noted so many differences between here and home. Our school schedules are set-up completely different than at the Mount, and our professors are stressing that we learn about each other’s cultures and learn from each other, which is great! I have had lots of time to explore the city and have really been enjoying my time here and cannot wait for the second half! I leave next week for my trip up North to the Lapland and am considering a few other smaller trips as well. I think with more classes in April and these trips my time will fly by. I am really trying to enjoy every minute! It may sound cliché but, this trip is something that I will always remember, and it has already had a huge impact on me.