May 21, 2022
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Life & Culture

Park students decide to go global on Instagram

After study abroad programs were unavailable for the 2020–21 academic year, Ithaca College students enthusiastically began to study abroad again. In order to help promote these opportunities that are available, students within the Roy H. Park School of Communications are documenting their experiences on the Park School’s social media.   

Park Goes Global is a project started by Mickie Quinn, director of Park Promotions, and will be put into action by Park Promotions, an organization that creates promotional material for the Park School. Quinn had the idea for Park Goes Global after she realized that more than half of the students in the organization will be studying abroad this semester. 

“Having so many students away this semester really gives us the opportunity to highlight our study away programs.” Quinn explained. “You know, turning lemons into lemonade.”

Park students who wanted to submit content expressed their interest to Quinn. So far, 27 students want to participate. Some of the locations submitted so far are the Ithaca College London Center and the Ithaca College Los Angeles (ICLA) program in Los Angeles, California, which are both affiliated with the college. There are also students who submitted from Spain and Italy, which are not affiliated with the college. 

From these locations, Park students document their abroad experiences through photos and videos as well as a written caption, and will submit their work to Quinn via email. For content submissions, students are encouraged to document an image of themselves in their location, their internship experiences, special trips they go on, or even food they’ve eaten. 

“I’m not censoring or editing or scripting [the posts] at all,” Quinn said. “I want them to share their experience and talk to a very specific audience [college students and prospective students].”

Sophomore Cate Middleton, co-manager of Park Promotions social media, said Instagram is the ideal platform for their target audience since it’s high. The hope is that the Park Goes Global posts will motivate students to eventually take a semester abroad and persuade prospective students to choose Ithaca College.

The Park Goes Global posts will act as a resource for students to go to if they want to learn more about the abroad programs, making it easier for students to understand what going abroad is actually like.

“This way it’s all a little bit more cut and dry. It’s all in one place.” Middleton said. “Now you have something as easy and accessible as Instagram to go to and be like, ‘Hey! Do I wanna do this? Let me see if I want to do this.’” 

Senior Jade Rynar, television and radio major and Park Promotions member, is currently studying in Los Angeles and has an internship with Talent X Entertainment, which is a talent management agency that works with digital talent like YouTubers and TikTokers. Rynar didn’t know much about the ICLA program experience before she went abroad, and said she thinks that Park Goes Global will be able to educate prospective students on the benefits of education outside Ithaca. 

“It’s such a cool opportunity and a highlight of our school,” Rynar explains. “And it’s something that really should be advertised.

Rynar has been enjoying the sunny weather and being able to get work experience through her internship.

“It’s so fun to explore LA and leave the Ithaca bubble,” Rynar said. “But still get the quality of Ithaca professors and the comfort of having Ithaca people with you.”

Senior Emma Herbst, head social media manager for Park Promotions, is also studying in LA. She is a writing for film, TV and emerging media major with an internship at the Intellectual Property Company, which is a boutique literary management company that represents authors and screenwriters. Herbst’s role is to read material that comes in and give a synopsis and her own thoughts on whether or not the piece is worth pursuing.

Having lived near Ithaca most of her life, Herbst found herself feeling quite anxious to study in LA. Something Herbst hopes to highlight in the Park Goes Global posts is that there is a community of both staff and students offering support.

An example of community in the LA program is the James B. Pendleton Center, which is where courses are held. Herbst said students are open and communicative, sharing their internship experiences with one another. Herbst explained how talking with students and faculty at the center helped ease her transition, and feels that it’s important to share with others. 

“When I was preparing to come, there wasn’t a lot of material on social media,” Herbst said. “And I think that [uploading content on social media] just makes it more approachable. Social media is a space where you see community, and just by having information about it will be helpful.”

Quinn and Park Promotions hope to maintain a channel for abroad students to share their experience every semester. 

“We can get a glimpse at their [Park students] lives doing Park things in other places,” Quinn said. “We want it to be successful and we hope students find it in their time and energy to take a moment and share.”