“Domestic” Study Abroad?

Remember back in the day when study abroad used to be…abroad? In efforts to expose students to the intricacies of the entertainment industry, this article in the LA Times reveals that many schools are now offering study abroad options in the city of angels. Apparently, LA is foreign enough an environment to prompt the phrase “domestic study abroad” (a phrase that must have been created “accidentally on purpose”…the oxymorons can go on and on…).

While the article states several valid points, many of the benefits of living in an actual foreign country, from the language barrier to the foreign perceptions on American culture and politics, are simply never going to be available on the West Coast. Having spent a summer there myself living in Westwood and interning for a major film corporation, I certainly learned a lot of practical skills that are unparalled anywhere outside of the film capital of the world.

However, there needs to be a distinction between pre-professional programs and study abroad. LA provides the exposure to the entertainment world just as DC is the capital of politics and NYC the epicenter of finance. Though, I believe it is also possible to gain job-specific skills while abroad. Why not look for an internship at a foreign film company? The unique international perspectives gained from an internship abroad may provide necessary skills while broadening your understanding of the industry.