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Emma Bollinger - International Social Marketing in Argentina

Published: Monday, 05 Feb 2018
Author: Cheryl Ann Benner
Department: Office for Education Abroad

Name: Emma Bollinger

Status: Senior

Major: Advertising Management

Hometown: Coopersville, MI

Program: International Social Marketing, Argentina 2018

The two weeks that I spent in Argentina was a brief, but left me with incredible insight and passion for international marketing and communication. I have always known that I would like to work on a global scale. Traveling and taking part in other cultures has always been a passion of mine. However, this goal seemed lofty and unlikely. One of the major reasons I had a hard time believing that I could work in other countries was fear. I had the fear that I would fail, that I wouldn't find a place in the community, or that I wouldn't be able to communicate with others.

I had done a previous study abroad program, but this one was different. This program would require that I work with a group of students that I just met, on a topic that we knew little about in a short period of time. The first session that we had we met with the client, we were given the brief and told that we had just under two weeks to put together a social media campaign that they would run. This was real, the work we did had to be top-notch, not just good enough to turn into a professor.

So, like professionals, we got to work. I researched the legislation that we were going to be running our campaign on. But to understand why enriching the rights of older persons was a large topic, I had to do cultural research as well. During this process, I was able to talk to with older persons within the community and learn from their perspectives. A task like this would have originally intimidated me, there was a language barrier and I was just a college student from a different country. However, in the moment it was just a part of the job and we found ways around the barriers.

Once we had the insights, my team got to work on the media. We are all advertising management majors, not creatives. This was yet another factor that I would have let slow me down originally. However, in the moment my team and I found ways around the issue.

It wasn't until I returned and was telling people about my experiences that I realized that a career working on global accounts is in fact possible for me. While I learned about important social marketing skills, what I really took with me was that I have the ability to do great things, the things I thought were out of my skillset. Forcing yourself to overcome challenges, such as language barriers or differences in culture, strengthen who you are.