My Study Abroad Experience

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Barcelona, Spain is somewhere I never thought I would have the chance to go to. But when I learned of CEA and their program here, I had to take advantage. I have always wanted to study abroad but I never knew where and once I was presented with this opportunity, I was over the moon. I always knew it would be an amazing experience, but I never thought it would compare to this. To sum up what this experience has entailed would be impossible, but writing about it is a great way to help explain.

13532832_1065872086856929_134676324399694845_nFrom learning to live with new people who have very different lifestyles and backgrounds to traveling on the weekends, this experience has been life changing. Besides the city itself, my favorite part of studying abroad was the people I had the chance to meet. My roommates were from Kansas, Georgia and Arizona so I was lucky enough to learn about different lifestyles from the United States as well. On top of the chance to meet other Americans, I was also introduced to local friends. Going out with them and allowing them to show us around the city was amazing. It was really interesting to learn about Barcelona from a local perspective.

Traveling on the weekends was another opportunity that I was lucky enough to take 18118810_1146833282094142_8307658241948532453_nadvantage of. Traveling is something that requires immense patience, street knowledge and can sometimes bring out the worst in people. From trying to navigate a foreign city without Google maps, to dealing with the biggest complainer in your group, the biggest thing I learned was simply patience. Patience is something I struggled with before coming abroad but is something that is needed to succeed and make the most of the experience.

16143003_1065867600190711_8838851271856486439_nThe best part of this was not the traveling or the people but rather Barcelona itself. Having the chance to live in such a beautiful, energetic, clean and unique city is something I will never forget. My favorite times were the times where I found myself aimlessly walking around popping into local stores and coffee shops. I think that was the best way for me to get to know the city.

 

Since the minute I stepped foot on Spanish soil, I have been changed for the better. It is something that I cannot explain but I know in my heart that I have become a better person, a harder worker and more grateful than ever. The best way I can explain the way I feel about Barcelona is comparable to falling in love, but much deeper.

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The Podcasting Phenomenon

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A podcast is any kind of digital media (video, audio, text) that is recorded and uploaded and put into a feed. Podcasting, once an unknown mean of spreading information that is know very popular and widely used around the world. It has slowly become recognized as one of the largest forms of distributing audio information. Podcasting is not only for personal use but also corporate.

History of Podcasting:

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Adam_Curry_2016Adam Curry and RSS feed developer, Dave Winer created a 220px-David_Winer_by_Joi_Itointricate form of broadcasting content available through “The Daily Source Code” that was considered to be the first form of podcasting. This was very successful and soon developers were creating their own radio shows and audio podcasts. Although web radio had been available for a decade, the invention of the iPod and MP3 player was opening new doors for online audio.

However, the beginning of the actual term “podcasting” was a synonym for audioblogging created by Ben Hammersley and Dannie Gregoire in 2004. Journalist Ben Hammersley realized that the idea of audio recordings was quite obvious. iPod’s and MP3 players make it simple to share audio and it was easy to create software for cheap. After extensive research, Hammersley came to the conclusion that this was the beginning of something new: giving people the power to listen to what they want, when they want.

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Possible means for podcasting:

  • iPod + broadcasting (don’t need an iPod, it was just on Curry’s mind when creatingipod
  • pod (capsule) + casting (broadcasting)
  • POD (portable on demand) +casting
  • POD (personal option digital) + casting (by doc searls, linux journal editor)(also for many apple computers… creative, etc)
  • Blogcasting (by microsoft to change that ipod involvement)

Benefits of podcasting

Podcasting is considered a medium with many benefits for personal bloggers as well as corporate companies. It allows you the benefit to expand your brand, spread valuable ideas and provide entertainment. It gives companies the benefit of saving money on advertising dollars while attaining more sales. It opens the market for informing new customers and reach out to audio learners vs visual learners.

Overall benefits include easy accessibility, portability, it is relatively cheap, anyone can listen to a podcast and anyone can become a podcaster.

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Useful apps/ tools for podcasting:

Soundcloud:

Soundcloud is an audio platform that allows users to create and share sound. The audio can be private or public and can be easily published to blogs, social media sites and corporate websites. Users are allowed to share audio directly to Twitter, Facebook and many other social network sites.

 

Audcacity:

Audcacity is a free multi track audio editor and recorder. It is free, easy to use and offers free tools that allow users to mix and move around sounds. Some features include: changing speed/pitch, a podcasting forum and is available for mac and windows.

 

Ecamm Call Recorder:

Ecamm is a call recording tool that records audio and video calls on Facetime or Skype. Although it is $30, it includes high-quality HD recording, easy conversion to MP3 files and allows users to split tracks after a call. This tool is awesome when conducting interviews!

GarageBand:

GarageBand is a completely full feature app to record, edit and save podcast audio. If you own an Apple product, GarageBand is fully included. Users can create and mix up to 255 audio tracks as well as many instruments.

 

 

Podcasts can be anything you want them to be, that is the beauty of them. There are no rules and you can talk about whatever you want. I have attached a podcast interview of a friend I met while in Barcelona on her study abroad experience as an example of a podcast!

My Favorite Place in the World

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As I look back at my experience abroad, I realized that I spent a lot of time scrambling trying to do everything that I had forgotten to do. From museums, to Park Güell to trying all of the live markets. As I was focusing on all of that, I realize I had completely overlooked my favorite place. This place is the Bunkers del Carmel, the place I will miss the most. The uniqueness of the area, the beautiful views and the relaxing environment is something everyone should experience, but it hasn’t always been that way.

History of Bunkers del Carmel:

Bunkers del Carmel came from the Spanish Civil War in 1937. They were formally used barcelona-during-spanish-civil-waras underground military bunkers. Dating back to ’37 the bunkers were used as part of an anti-craft battery against attacks from fascists. They also stored a great deal of guns and weapons used in combat.

imgresWhen dictator Franco came into power as the Civil War ended, the guns were taken away and locals began using the bunkers as shelter. In the late 50’s-60’s the bunkers provided shelter to nearly 7% of Barcelona’s population adding up to nearly 3,000 people living in that area.

It wasn’t until the 1992 Olympic games when Barcelona’s biggest 1052px-1992_Summer_Olympics_logo.svgtransition began that the city began to relocate the residents in the bunkers to flats and apartments around the city in attempt to clean up the city. The village was abandoned completely.

In the 2000’s locals began visiting the area to enjoy one of the prettiest 360 views of Barcelona. It was said to be one of Barcelona’s best kept secret until recently it has become very popular. It is a famous place for people to have a picnic, drink some wine, enjoy and watch the sunset.

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When I first arrived in Barcelona, my friends and I stumbled upon this area by taking the wrong bus and it ended up being the best thing that could have happened. When we got back down, we realized that we had no idea how we even got there in the first place. But after research, we learned that it is pretty easy, but also confusing. Here is how to get to the Bunkers:

BUS:

  1. You will need to take the 24 or the V17.
  2. You will get off at Gran Vista- Turó de la Rovira
  3. From there, you will walk uphill for about 10 minutes where you will stumble upon the slabs of concrete with paths and plants to explore.

METRO:

  1. You can take the L4 or L5.
  2. Get off at either Guidardó I Hospital de Sant Pau or La Teixonera.
  3. The closest stop is Turó de la Rovira.
  4. From there you will walk on foot for about 15 minutes or hop on a bus to the top.

 

Here is a 360 view of the bunkers:

 

Patience is a Virtue

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I am known to be one of the most impatient people anyone knows. I have troubles sitting still and get aggravated when having to wait for simple things. However, being abroad I have learned that patience is one of the most important attributes. Because Europeans perceive time differently than Americans, you have to learn to be patient. From waiting for a train, to walking behind slow walkers to listening to people complain when we are in some of the greatest cities in the world.

  1. Transportation

In the states, I rarely use public transportation but in Spain it is my only form of taxis-barcelonatransportation. At the beginning, I would just take taxis around because I was so confused by the metro/bus system. But after getting yelled at by my parents about the amount of money I was spending, taking taxis was the first thing to go. The metro system was easy to figure out and if you ever had questions almost anyone was kind enough to help you but it was the busses that I struggled with the most. Sometimes 3 of the same bus would come in a row, sometimes I had to wait 30 minutes. The best part about this, was if a bus didn’t come I would have the chance to walk. The best times I had in Barcelona were walking around aimless, lost in the city.

  1. My biggest pet peeve: slow walkers

shutterstock_153214664One of the first things I noticed when arriving in Spain was how slow people tend to walk. It was almost as if they were doing it on purpose. It takes me an extra 10 minutes to get to school because I am constantly dodging slow walkers. It took me awhile, but I eventually learned that because time is not of the essence here, I would have to deal with it. Now I have noticed that I am the slow walker and I truly believe that it has made me stop and enjoy the little things abroad.

  1. Dinner

In America, restaurants almost pride themselves on efficiently getting people in and out 20150928094934_1215759319_3241_9of a restaurant in a timely manner. In Spain, it is known that when people go out to eat for drinks or tapas, it is a social event. Dinners typically last 2-3 hours and this quickly tested my patience. People like to sit, relax and enjoy the food and each other’s company. At the beginning I would get very frustrated when it took 20 minutes to get the check but now, I think if it as quality time with my friends. It’s a perfect time to stay updated about each other’s lives. Although this was extremely frustrating for me at the beginning, dinner has become my favorite event of the day.

In my short time here in Barcelona, Spain I have learned to be more patient that ever. It has really made me appreciate the little things in life and I hope I can take this important skill to my everyday life at home.

 

 

Social Media in Politics

In the past decade or so, social media has changed the way people interact, connect and view eachother. Social media affects everything now… friendships, daily purchases and even politics. Years ago, people never would have guessed that social media would take such a toll on a political campaign but the 2016 elections in the United States proved otherwise. Facebook and Twitter seemed to have played the biggest role in decided who would become the President of the United States.
Whether social media was considered a positive or negative regarding political campaigns, people will argue both sides. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad of political social media.

Facebook:

When Obama was running for president, Facebook seemed to have helped him greatly. It was an easy way for people to share his ideas, beliefs and where he stood. Facebook brings positives for many reasons. In class we learned about the 10 political uses for Facebook. Those include:

1. Facebook gives transparency.
2. Facebook has a huge viral capacity, making it easy to share.

3. Facebook allows “micro point of view” meaning that anything you share can have many followers or likes.

4. Facebook communicates.

5. Facebook creates politics out of politics.

6. Facebook connects people.

7. Facebook works for citizens.

8. Facebook is global.

9. Facebook promotes creativity.

10. Facebook humanizes.

All of the above are great reasons Facebook can help a political campaign. In 2012, Obama’s celebration of winning the election again was the most liked photo on Facebook racking up over 3 million likes.

Although Facebook can greatly help a campaign, there are also many negatives. The presidential race of 2016 proved this regarding news with President Trump.

“Fake News” became one of the most used phrases by Trump because of all of the false information that was floating around about him. A lot of this had to do with Facebook. Because it is so easy to share posts on Facebook, it makes “fake news” spread like wildfire. Quotes were shared about him saying things such as that he was giving away free plane tickets to people who want to leave the US and that many years ago he said that if he were to run for president he would run republican because “they are the biggest group of idiots in the world.” All of these things were false and really took a toll on his campaign.


Twitter


Twitter was the most talked about social media platforms in the presidential race of 2016. Yes, Twitter can be used easily for sharing small quotes and stories but this year it was looked at very negatively. Donald Trump took a lot of his campaign to tweeting and while it may be comical in a way, it was viewed as immature and impulsive. Some of his tweets included:



Overall, social media has greatly affected political campaigns and continues to do so more and more.

Ana López on Digital Marketing

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Our class had the pleasure of listening to Ana López, previous head of Digital Marketing for Estrella Damm, speak about her experience and involvement in the journalism field. Through her involvement working with Estrella Damm, it was interesting to learn a little bit more about what goes into digital marketing, advertising campaigns, promoting brand awareness and market analysis of social trends.

Ana López attended school at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona where she had aurl double bachelor degree in journalism as well as social and cultural anthropology. She then received her masters degree in communications and advertising management at ESIC: Business & Marketing School in Madrid where she learned how to use digital marketing to attract the right target market when promoting a product. During this time she worked as an account director at Marco de Comunicacion. After graduating, she began working as a Brand Manager and later as the Head of Digital Marketing at Estrella Damm in Barcelona.

Estrella-DammEstrella Damm is one of Barcelona’s oldest brands and also a major part of the culture. It is a lager beer brewed in Barcelona and is now available in many different countries around the world. When López began working there, the company did not have much knowledge on the concept of digital marketing as it was just really taking off. She expressed when speaking with us that she was alone, she had no digital marketing department or digital team. López and her team focused on launching advertising campaigns, public relations and media planning. They also completely took over the companies Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most importantly their Youtube channel.

The same year López starting working for Estrella Damm, they launched a 3 minute music video/commercial. The video was of a Swedish group that no one in Spain had heard of. In just one summer they reached over 2.5 million views on Youtube which resulted in the song being the most downloaded song of the summer in Spain. The video was filmed in Formentera, Spain which became the destination of the year. This advertising campaign increased their brand awareness by 225%.

Over the next couple of years, Estrella Damm focused on their social media presence,awareness
launched smaller campaigns and maintained relationships with key partners. They wanted to collaborate with these partners to grow digitally and expand brand awareness.

Estrella Damm has a different advertising approach as most companies. “Good things never end, there is always something to remind you” is the motto behind most of their campaigns. Spaniards are known for being relaxed so they do not focus on the beer itself but rather the good times that surround the beer and the Mediterranean ways of life. Their Instagram account is a perfect example of their marketing strategy. Right now, landscape photography is a huge social media trend. The goal is to blend in with social media trends as much as possible. Estrella Damm prides itself in being a Mediterranean beer, so instead of having photos of the same old beer bottle on the account, they have put their focus on photos from all around the Mediterranean Sea.

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After years of expanding, campaigning and focusing on digital trends, Estrella Damm had another record breaking video campaign in 2015. The video was a 10 minute short film featuring the famous actress, Dakota Johnson. The video quickly reached 5 million views and was awarded as the best campaign in Spain by Youtube. The campaign increased brand awareness in Spain by 5% which is crazy considering how popular the beer already was. Because of this campaign, they received awareness from all around the world including 30% increase in the UK.

Many things were learned from this class discussion.

  • Communication between the brand and the consumer has completely changed. Because technology and social media have evolved so much in the past couple years, there are many different ways for a brand to create awareness.
  • It is important to match the way you promote to the interest of the target audience. (i.e. using landscape photos on Instagram)
  • Analyzing the target audience (or place) is necessary. It is important to focus on the motivations and demographics of the area.
  • Make messages short, sweet and clear. This way, people will remember the little things without overanalyzing.
  • Companies need to start using technology and social media to digitalize their advertisements and campaigns because of how far they can reach audiences.

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WOMM

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Word of mouth marketing was once as simple as it sounds: she liked the product, she told her 2 friends then they told 2 friends and so on. But now, word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is a much different concept. Social media has completely taken this term to another level. Everyday, consumers use WOMM without even knowing it! Here is some more information on WOMM:

Why should marketers use word of mouth marketing?

WOMM is the staple of all marketing tools. It is easily the most effective as it is reported 92% of consumers trust their friends and family when purchasing a product over an advertising. The main goal of WOMM is to make your customers so happy that they promote you (without you asking them to) to their friends so that your business grows. WOMM is essentially using happy costumers to promote your business. The best part about word of mouth marketing is that it is letting the customers do the work, without them even knowing.

How to use WOMM?

Facebook: Facebook is one of the most powerful social media tools, as people all around the word, at any age will be using this platform. When someone posts positive feedback about your product, it will likely get shares or likes resulting in the product spreading like wildfire.

Amazon: when a customer purchases your product on Amazon, they typically write a review. When customers see consistently positive reviews, they are more likely to invest in the product. If you have a fantastic product- this should be easy.

Trip Advisor/ Yelp: While being abroad, these are two of the most useful tools when reviewing a business. When I am on trips, all I have to do is search for restaurants near me and the best reviewed restaurants will show up. It is simple for me to look at photos of the food, comments on the overall vibe and long reviews. This will allow me to easily decide on a restaurant near me.

Ways to have perfect word of mouth marketing:

  • Customer Service

When a customer is purchasing a product, they expect to be treated nicely. Customer service is one of the most important tools as it is usually the only form of contact someone has with a company. If someone calls your service line and is treated poorly, they are likely to complain to their friends about it. For example: I have tried to call my phone provider many times to fix something, but the customer service is so poor that I had to tweet at them. I even got a couple of retweets which looks awful on a company.1cs

  • Create a good name:

Customers prefer businesses that are trustworthy and honest. If you are respectful and loyal to your customers, they are likely to come back.

  • The 3 E’s
  1. Engage: Listen to your customers, converse with them. The easiest way to do this is through social media. Twitter is probably the easiest way to converse with customer’s as it is quick and easy. @JetBlue is one of the most engaging brands on Twitter. You are likely to receive a response from them very quickly.jetblue-twitter-page
  2. Equip: Provide your customers with what they want and need. Simple: amazing service, better customer service, ability to answer questions, knowledge on the product, refunds or easy exchanges. When you provide customers with these things, they are likely to refer you to a friend.
  3. Empower: Give customers the ability to share their experience with you. Listen to their questions and concerns and allow them to share opinions. When you learn these things, you can use them to create a better business.

Overall, WOMM is the best marketing tool as it is free, easy and customers do the work for you, without even knowing it!