International Communications New Major Opens Worldwide Doors

For Cassy Collins, language has always been a passion, but the big question is: What do you do with a language major?

The creation of the international communication major at Walla Walla University fit her interests perfectly, finding the medium where communications and languages collide. This international communication degree combines the best of a mass communication degree and a language degree giving students diverse opportunities.

"For me, it's just a perfect fit," says Collins, who is a senior Spanish and international communication major at WWU. "It hits all of the points I love."

The 2010–2011 academic year was the debut for this unique major. Currently, WWU is the only Adventist university in North America offering an international communication major.

"We're providing a curriculum to help our students be extraordinarily prepared in the rapidly changing media environment," says Nancy Semotiuk, chair of the communications and languages department at WWU. "In a global environment, strong communication and language skills are vital. New and exciting opportunities are opening for students and graduates in international venues, as employers increasingly seek graduates with bilingual skills."

"The new program meets a strong interest for students seeking opportunities to use their writing, speaking and graphic communication skills in an international setting," says David Bullock, WWU professor of communications.

Jerry Hartman, assistant professor of communications, says that creating a major in this integrated field of work just made sense.

"It's a degree that crosses over in all the communication disciplines," Hartman says. "We see it as a really good niché field."

And that is exactly what Collins needed. This new major allows her to use both her love of culture and communication.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Handbook for 2010–2011, "the need for good public relations in an increasingly competitive and global business environment should spur demand for ... those with specialized knowledge or international experience. Employees who possess additional language capabilities are also in great demand."

Requirements for the major include spending at least one quarter abroad in either Spain or France and participating in an international internship during their time away. This is the most exciting part for Collins. She has spent a summer in France, a school year in Spain, and plans to spend an additional school year in France participating in the internship program.

May 01, 2011 / Walla Walla University
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