Exploring Opportunities Abroad: GCM's Study Abroad Program

Zaria Gray (right), with a friend at HdM, Germany

Zaria Gray (right), with a friend at HdM, Germany

Appalachian State University's Graphic Communication Management department offers a captivating and enriching Study Abroad Program that provides students with unique global experiences and valuable insights into the field of graphic communication. This program allows students to expand their horizons, explore diverse cultures, and gain a deeper understanding of the global graphic communication industry. This exciting program offers many benefits for students. Recent participants in the program, Zaria Gray and Mackenzie Crawford share their insights on the experience.

Program Overview

The Graphic Communication Management Study Abroad Program at Appalachian State University is designed to expose students to international perspectives, cultures, and industry practices. It is typically a semester-long program, from March through July, that provides a comprehensive educational experience for undergraduate students majoring in Graphic Communication Management or a related field.


Campus of Hochschule der Medien (HdM)

Key Program Features

Location: The program offers students the opportunity to study at Hochschule der Medien (HdM), a university located in Stuttgart, Germany…

Academic Excellence: Students can take courses abroad that contribute to their degree requirements, ensuring that they make progress toward graduation. Students are required to take a full course load of 12 hours. These courses often cover various aspects of graphic communication, such as design, offset lithography, flexography, screen printing, gravure, additive engineering, packaging, and marketing.

“The 12 hour course requirement encouraged me to sign up for courses that they otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to take.”—Zaria Gray

Cultural Immersion: Study Abroad participants have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture. They live and study in the host country, allowing for a more profound understanding of local customs, traditions, and business practices.

Networking Opportunities: The program often includes visits to local graphic communication companies, allowing students to network with professionals in the field and gain real-world insights. This experience can be invaluable when seeking internships or job opportunities in the future.

“The program provides you with so many opportunities, it’s up to you to take them! I encourage students going abroad to participate in every opportunity, even if it's just coffee with friends or studying, GO! You never know who you'll meet or the experience you have.” —Mackenzie Crawford

Language and Communication Skills: While all course instruction is in English, studying abroad can provide students with the opportunity to significantly improve language skills, communication skills, and overall cultural awareness.

“Take advantage of your German language course when you're at HdM! Although most of the students and professors at the HdM can speak English, they appreciate it when you make an effort to speak in their native language.” — Zaria Gray

Benefits of the Graphic Communication Management Study Abroad Program

Broadened Horizons: This program broadens students' horizons by exposing them to diverse cultures and different ways of thinking. These experiences can be transformative, helping students become more open-minded and adaptable.

“My time abroad was so great due to the people and experiences, I met amazing friends from all over which was super cool, and also got to travel to a ton of countries and cities. This made studying abroad fun and exciting, travel was definitely my favorite part of the trip.” —Mackenzie Crawford

Industry Insights: Gaining exposure to international graphic communication practices and trends allows students to better understand the global marketplace, making them more competitive in the industry.

Personal Growth: Living in a foreign country challenges students to become more independent, resourceful, and self-reliant. These personal growth experiences can be invaluable throughout their lives.

“You shouldn’t expect it to be like home because it’s not. It may be mentally taxing at first because it's a new environment that you’re unfamiliar with. However, understand that the people in your program are going through the same things, and you have an opportunity to make it a new home.”—Zaria Gray

Enhanced Résumé: Participation in a Study Abroad Program is a valuable addition to a student's résumé, as it demonstrates a commitment to personal and professional development and an ability to adapt to new environments.

How to Apply

To participate in the Graphic Communication Management Study Abroad Program at Appalachian State University, students should contact the university's Study Abroad Office or ask your Graphic Communication Management professors!

Before applying, students should speak with their academic advisor to make sure studying abroad fits into their academic plan, and doesn’t interfere with other requirements.

“The application process was completely online and can be easily accessed through the Office of International Education and Development’s website. The application also guides students through the processes of gathering important documents like passports and insurance information. They also provide them with information about relevant scholarships they can apply for."" —Zaria Gray

After applying, there is a short workshop, Study Abroad 101, that every student interested in going abroad must complete.

“The class was super easy and really just prepared students for what they should expect. It guides students through the processes of gathering important documents like passports and insurance information, providing them with information about relevant scholarships they can apply for, and in many ways acts as a forum for students to ask questions.”—Zaria Gray

Additionally, the application process typically includes selecting a destination, meeting academic prerequisites, securing necessary travel documents, and financial planning.

Appalachian State University's Graphic Communication Management Study Abroad Program offers an exceptional opportunity for students to combine their academic pursuits with international experiences. Through this program, students can acquire valuable skills, and deepen their understanding of the graphic communication industry that will serve them well in their future careers. It's a life-enriching adventure that can leave a lasting impact on students' personal and professional lives.

Gabrielle Riddle