In the north of Greece, overlooking the blue waters of the Aegean, nineteen students from Washington State University had the remarkable opportunity to study communication under the guidance of two professors from Murrow College. There, in the shadow of the 12th century White Tower of Thessaloniki, they had the opportunity to earn six credits exploring a remarkable country while practicing real-life business and media production.
“Greece was a very eye-opening experience for me,” WSU student Emily Johnson said, “It was a great opportunity to take my education outside of the classroom with other students and staff who all share a passion for Communications. The trip equipped me with tools that will help me in my professional life and inspired me to travel more in the future.”
The course consisted of two classes, one in Strategic Communications, the other in Multimedia Journalism. Each class focussed on hands-on, real-world learning projects that explored the life and realities of modern Greece. Unlike most trips to the Classical world, Storytelling in Greece not only exposed the students to the remarkable history and culture of the country, but really focussed on instructing the students in the art of communication.
The journalism class, taught by Professor Simmons, had the students investigate and write news stories on events happening in Greece today. The topics they chose spanned the gamut, from the rise in stray dogs presently facing the city, to the growth of widespread unemployment across Greece. Through their own work and their own experiences, they built a portfolio for launching and developing their careers in communication regardless of what aspect they choose to specialize in.
Professor Barnes’ class on strategic communications challenged the students to develop a global presence for a family-owned winery. Ktima Gerovassiliou vineyards has been commercially producing wine since 1981, and has a substantial international reputation, but they want to build a stronger global standing, particularly in the United States. The students met challenge by developing social media campaigns. They broke into five competitive groups, each trying to develop the best approach to increasing the vineyard’s presence in the American market. The results were judged by the marketing director of Ktima Gerovassiliou, who chose which campaign she would use and gave the students a taste of the realities of global advertising.
Next year, the program will return to Greece, building on this year’s successes by exploring not only the Aegean coast, but also engaging in a work project in Bulgaria.