By Hannah Stewart (Comm’19)
In December 1773, American colonists infamously destroyed nearly 50 tons of British tea, eventually leading to a national affinity for coffee. Now, millennial and Gen Z Britons are having a tea party of their own, trading their cuppas for Starbucks.
This summer, students from the College of Media, Communication and Information at CU Boulder will get an up-close look at the tea industry’s response while studying advertising in London. It’s one of a number of short study-abroad programs CMCI students will be able to take in Europe this summer.
“We’re going to look at the history of advertising practices,” said Morgan Young, a teaching assistant professor and director of advertising, public relations and media design at CMCI. “London is the center of advertising for all of Europe and much of Africa, as well. This program will give students a better, more well-rounded educational experience.”
All students studying advertising strategy have to take the Consumer Insights course, but by taking the class in London, students will be able to tour advertising agencies, tea companies and, of course, cultural hot spots during an immersive, three-week period. There will also be day trips to Cambridge and Oxford, where students will learn about the complicated cultural history tied to tea, culminating in the development of campaigns based on their findings.
“It’s a very focused program. You’re going to be pushed, but you’re also going to be guided throughout the entire process,” Young said.
He explained that courses like London Consumer Insights help students by exposing them to other cultures and challenging their ideas—not just of their field of study, but also of themselves. It’s an opportunity ripe for personal and professional growth, and since CMCI’s abroad programs are led by faculty, they’re also uniquely positioned to directly benefit students.
“What sets CMCI study abroad programs apart is engagement not just with these international cities, but with the companies who are shaping these different cultures," said Lori Bergen, founding dean of CMCI. "Getting a different perspective on something like the coffee or tea we drink every morning teaches students to challenge their assumptions and think critically about where their skills can create real-world impact."
The Consumer Insights course is new to the college, as is another London program led by information science faculty. During The Ethnography and Design of Making Data Strange course, students will study international data and visit hotspots like the legendary Bletchley Park and Warner Bros. Studios. Those programs join CMCI’s long-standing International Strategic Communication course, which is held in Paris and Amsterdam. That course runs directly before the Consumer Insights course, allowing students to take both courses and gain additional experience abroad.
“Paris was an incredible experience,” said Jack Forman (StratComm’23), who completed the Paris program last year and is now working with Greentarget Global Group. CMCI, he said, “makes it really easy to study abroad and earn credit while you’re overseas.”