What is one of the best ways to illustrate the transformative experience of studying abroad to students? Gorgeous photos and compelling videos from other students who have studied abroad is an ideal way to provide a window into the experience of learning in another country. At Rutgers Global, we have been fortunate to receive amazing content from our students and feature these photos and videos on our social media platforms as part of the Rutgers University Humans of Study Abroad campaign (#RUHoSA). But one of the many dire effects of the Covid pandemic was a nearly complete cessation of travel-based education abroad and a shift to online and home-country based forms of global learning, thus cutting off the supply of student-generated content. Time to get creative.
Lauren Meregalli Ferrer, Associate Director of Rutgers Global Study Abroad, wanted to solve the problem of not having the typical pipeline of student content to share. “In the past, we’ve featured photos and videos from the previous semester that students provided to us when they returned to campus,” she said. Meregalli Ferrer came up with a way to use technology to the best advantage by reaching out to students scheduled to study abroad during the Fall 2021 semester and asking them to record their experiences and share them with Rutgers Global in real time. “Given the power of cell phones and social media, we thought, why wait?”
At the end of the summer, Rutgers Global reached out to all of the students who were packing up and getting ready to study abroad for the fall semester with an attractive proposition: make a series of TikTok videos about your experiences studying abroad and receive a scholarship of $1000.
The office received applications and selected five students who provided compelling reasons for wanting to join our first ever Global Ambassador Media Team. (See excerpts of our Global Ambassadors’ applications below.)
Each Ambassador is responsible for creating ten videos over the course of the Fall 2021 semester that will be featured on TikTok primarily, as well as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. The goal is for the videos to provide a glimpse into the study abroad experience in the “new normal,” and will include a video where the ambassadors introduce themselves, as well as videos covering topics such as program of study, local culture, tips/advice for studying abroad, classes and academic highlights, and daily life. Take a look at the introduction video, now posted on TikTok and read more about our Global Ambassador Media Team below.
Meet our Global Ambassador Media Team:
Alice Lee, John Cabot University, Rome, Italy
Rutgers-New Brunswick, Finance, Global Business, Certificate: Multicultural Competence Graduation Date: 2022
Student Groups/Clubs: Rutgers University Business for Youth, Asian American Cultural Center, Rutgers Business School Innovation Committee, HBOMax Campus Brand Manager, RU Green Team
“I am interested in the Global Ambassador Media Team because it will allow me to share my experience while also encouraging other students to step out of their comfort zone and study abroad. I am planning to take a Social Media Management course at John Cabot University so I will be able to apply my skills to create valuable content for the Global Ambassador Media Team.
“One of my greatest achievements at Rutgers is helping to create an organization called Rutgers University for Youth which allows college students to mentor high school students in underprivileged schools across New Jersey. I have been able to mentor high school students to prepare them for college while also creating friendships. Many of my mentees have asked about studying abroad and while I was able to research the process through the Rutgers website, I would love to provide the full experience with them as I am planning to continue through with the organization until graduation. I also think the financial cost of studying abroad is a big concern for many students in the work-study program like me so I would love to be able to share my budgeting experience while also pursuing my dream to live abroad.”
Ruijie (Lisa) Huangfu, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China
Rutgers-New Brunswick, Business Analytics and Information Technology
Graduation Date: 2023
Student Groups: International Student Orientation Leader
“I have always been passionate about, and good at video editing and photography. I participated in the study abroad program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong – Shenzhen (CUHKSZ) in the Spring 2021 semester. As a selected International Student Orientation Leader by Rutgers Global Office, I have taken on the responsibilities of an ambassador of study abroad in CUHKSZ. I actively participated in events and clubs at CUHKSZ and documented my experience by creating videos and photography and sharing the content with my Rutgers friends. Many of my Rutgers friends saw my pictures and videos, expressed their interest in the study abroad program, and asked me questions about the application process for their future consideration of participating in the study abroad program.”
Paula Palles, UCD Dublin, Ireland
Rutgers-Newark, Computer Science/ Data Science
Graduation Date: 2024
Student Groups/Clubs: LSAMP, Data Science Learning Community
“I would be interested in being part of the media team because I have a strong love for photography. I have my own personal blog where I share pictures. I think having this opportunity would be a perfect way to showcase my trip while also helping Rutgers get the promotion for study abroad programs it rightfully deserves.
“I plan to create one of those artsy TikToks where I would compose a bunch of videos throughout my time at the school so that I can remember all the fun times I had. I would also use one of the trending indie songs and show all of Ireland (from Dublin to the smaller cities that the school is planning to take us to).”
Karen Louie, Ewha University, South Korea
Rutgers-Camden, Accounting Major and Computer Science Minor
Graduation Date: May 2022
Student Groups/Clubs: Korean Student Association/Honors College
“One of my goals in life is to start a YouTube channel where I can share my travel experiences and advice. As a Global Ambassador, I would post short videos and photos about Korean culture, especially the Instagram-worthy café culture. My study abroad program in Seoul, South Korea could be the launch of my blog where I would give advice for studying abroad, about college and career goals, and life. I aim to inspire other students to study abroad at Ewha University in Seoul, South Korea.”
Alexa Johnson, John Cabot University, Rome, Italy
Rutgers-New Brunswick, Communications
Graduation Date: 2022
Student Groups/Clubs: The National Society of Leadership and Success
“The Study Abroad Media Scholarship is a great opportunity for anyone interested in the media field. I have always enjoyed doing projects on social media like TikTok and am hoping to pursue a career in a media field after graduating.
“I would want to do a “Day in the Life of a Study abroad Student” video to give viewers an inside look on classes, dining halls, and the campus. This could include shots of the student life as well as the personal side of students studying abroad. I also feel like it would be useful to do informational videos as well, such as a video explaining must-haves for studying abroad and what to leave at home, which could help future students studying at the same program.”