Abby Blaylock discussed Grady coursework.

Students From United Arab Emirates Exchange Experiences with Grady Students

It did not take long for the nine students from Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates to find common interests with the students from the University of Georgia.

Only an hour into their November 9 visit to the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the young women, students in Zayed’s College of Communication and Media Sciences, were engaged in a wide-ranging discussion of tests, class projects, classroom facilities, and the every day details of study at Grady, particularly in advertising and public relations.

“I just let them talk with the students,” Dr. Betty Jones said. “The students can do a better job of answering their questions than I can.”

Zayed and Grady students in graphics lab.

Dr. Jones, an expert on graphic design and a faculty member in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the Grady College, turned over her graphics lab to the visiting students and invited Grady students to join in the discussion.

Abby Blaylock, president of the student chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, led the discussion, but she was quickly joined by other students who wanted to share experiences.

When the nine students arrived at the University of Georgia campus in Athens, they were beginning a two-week study tour that would take them to four other universities in Georgia and South Carolina. For many of the students, it was a first-ever visit to the United States.

The group’s visit to the University of Georgia was organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College.

The federal government of the United Arab Emirates established Zayed University in 1998 to educate women of the country. The 3,200 students are enrolled in five colleges on two campuses, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Zayed student poses on set of student television news program Newsource 15.

The trip was organized by Associate Professor Ed Freedman, based on the Abu Dhabi campus. Freedman accompanied the students on the trip.

The students began their day by attending a course on Race, Gender and the Media and then selected from a variety of other courses being offered that day by Grady faculty. Several sat in on a session on media ethics and on magazine writing.

Dr. Jeff Springston, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in Grady, gave the students an overview of graduate study in the College and encouraged the women to consider applying to Grady once they had completed their undergraduate programs. He also discussed his own research on public health campaign strategies.

The Zayed students were in one of three concentrations offered in the College of Communication: Film and broadcast media, magazine and multi-media journalism, and public relations and advertising.

Professors Tom Reichert (left) and Bryan Reber with Zayed students over lunch.

The group had lunch with Dr. Bryan Reber and Dr. Thomas Reichert, the former a specialist in public relations and the latter a specialist in advertising. They also toured the facilities of the Grady College and ended their visit with a campus tour.

After visiting the University of Georgia, the students visited Georgia State University, and, in South Carolina, Columbia College, the University of South Carolina, and Francis Marion University.

“We were delighted that the Zayed organizers decided to include Grady on their tour,” Cox Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker said. “I think our students and the Zayed students quickly found that they had much to share. It is always rewarding to see how quickly people can put aside apparent cultural differences and find common ground for discussion.”