20 September 2016
A group of University of the Sunshine Coast students will travel to Vietnam on Saturday 24 September to research cultural differences in the way social media is used in marketing and public relations.
The study tour has been funded through the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan scholarship program, which encourages undergraduate students to study and undertake internships in the Indo Pacific region.
Students will spend one week in Ho Chi Minh City visiting some of Vietnam’s leading public relations and digital marketing agencies as part of the tour, organised by USC Lecturer in Public Relations Dr Karen Sutherland.
“Ho Chi Minh City was selected as the focus of the study because it is very culturally different to Australia and many of the global marketing and public relations firms have set up offices in the city,” Dr Sutherland said.
“Students will be able to compare the way that social media is used in Vietnam and Australia in terms of cultural differences and governmental restrictions.
“They will learn first-hand from PR and marketing professionals what is involved in social media campaigns and they will experience a completely different culture.”
The tour, from 24 September to 1 October, will involve meetings at six marketing and public relations firms, and other key organisations that have marketing and PR departments.
Student Emma White said she was particularly interested in visiting Matterhorn Communications and speaking with its Australian founder.
“It is renowned for being the first international public relations firm in Vietnam, and it will be interesting to see how the firm has adjusted to the Vietnamese culture,” she said.
Students also have the option of participating in a number of cultural activities including a tour of the Mekong Delta.
Dr Sutherland said this was the first international social media study tour organised by USC. Another will be offered next year, when six students will have the opportunity to conduct research in Hong Kong.
— Clare McKay