My name is Matthew Lawhead, a sophomore marketing and film major who is going on his third study abroad in four semesters. While the other programs I participated in were short term and relatively small scale, this time I will be out of the country for the entirety of the semester as part of the Global Business Institute in London. Due to my dual degree, it was necessary for me to take advantage of Pitt’s study abroad department early and often so that I would be able to broaden my world experiences while also completing my degree in a timely manner. To that end, while in London I am taking two classes towards my marketing degree, one towards my film, and working an internship at a full service digital marketing agency that specializes in entertainment clients.
In a sense, this program serves as the culmination as the several separate threads that make up the core of my degree and passion before I’ve gotten into the meat and potatoes of learning. It can seem somewhat strange to be doing a capstone of sorts only halfway through my degree, but I think that it is an incredibly invaluable opportunity for growth. As a student, it’s always important to contextualize and tailor your courses and learning around the types of jobs you wish to be pursuing after graduation. I am passionate about experiencing foreign cultures, marketing, and entertainment, so working with music marketing in London could very well be a post-degree option. By participating in this program, I get the privilege of experiencing that now and returning home with two full years to cultivate myself into that field or another depending on how it goes. It’s a learning experience unlike any other and I’m glad I get to experience it myself.
Beyond the aspects above, studying abroad always gives a wonderful chance to grow in a meaningful way that can help throughout my life. One of the best ways to grow is to go out my comfort zone and spending a full semester in another country is one of the bigger ways to do this. While the United Kingdom is more similar to the United States than some other countries might be, it still has its own unique culture that I need to learn and adapt to. One of the biggest differences is in classroom style, as the lectures are three and a half hours and the assignments are all essays. It provides an interesting challenge, but challenge is what makes studying abroad a strong opportunity. I look forward to taking my courses and working at my internship and know that they will allow me to gain the most of my college career that follows.