Enjoying Abroad, Missing College

I have and probably will never be someone who gets homesick. Whether I am away at sleep away camp, school, or on vacation, I am never thinking about what my friends or family are doing back home. I tend to live in the present and appreciate each moment life has to offer. I do however suffer from generalized anxiety, so any random instance can increase my anxiety levels, however, being away from home has never once been a trigger.

Some people believe Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. The University of Arizona, my home university, is my version of Disneyland. The University of Arizona has been my happy place since I began freshman year in 2014. I dread going home for breaks because my best moments are in Tucson with my best friends. Every break, my friends and I countdown the days until we are reunited. Now that I am studying abroad, and away from school and most of my friends, I have been anxious to get back to Tucson. Don’t get me wrong, I am having the best time of my life traveling through Europe, but lately, I have been missing everything about Arizona.

At one point during the semester, I felt like I needed to put myself back in the loop of events that were happening at school. So, I started paying more attention to my friend’s social media platforms, along with the University of Arizona’s platforms. Here are some of the events that I have missed:

Sorority Events

My sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, has made my college experience incredible. I met the most amazing, down-to-earth, people who I am certain will be my friends for life. I am not the typical, stereotypical sorority girl, so deciding to go through sorority recruitment made me nervous. However, as soon as I realized my house was not a stereotypical sorority, in that the girls are very relaxed and not extremely girly, I felt very at ease and comfortable. If it were not for this, I probably would be as involved as I have been for the past three years.

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This semester, my sorority hosted a philanthropy event at the house where they sold fries and milkshakes and donated all the funds to our national philanthropy, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Part of me wanted to be back in Arizona supporting my sisters, however, it was exciting to see all the photos posted from the event. I also donated to the event so I could be as supportive as possible while being in another country. Alpha Epsilon Phi also informed all of their social media followers that they raised over $10,000 for the cause. I was so incredibly excited and proud of them for all of their hard work.

My sorority is constantly active on multiple social media platforms, which allows me to stay updated on what they are doing throughout the semester, thanks to: Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The social media manager shares photos from all of the sorority activities held in the Spring.

It is also very comforting to know that my sisters miss and support me while I’m studying abroad just as much as I miss and support them! Despite the significant 9-hour time difference between Spain and Arizona, I still take time to talk to my closest friends in the sorority at least once every day.

Jealous of all our sisters who are traveling abroad! We miss you🌞✨ #lml #aephiarizona

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Anytime I feel a little anxious about being away from my closest friends at school, I can look back at instances like this to remind myself that my sisters are thinking about me too!

March Madness

March Madness is hands-down my favorite part of March. Arizona Basketball has a great team and I enjoy watching them play in the tournament. Throughout the past decade, I have followed Arizona basketball and always look forward to watching them play every March.

Being so far away from school this past March Madness was more difficult than I had anticipated. Not having my fellow Arizona basketball fans by my side during the most competitive and exciting time of the season felt lonely. Whether Arizona wins or loses, it’s always comforting being surrounded by people who share the same feeling as me. This season, the University of Arizona unfortunately lost in the second round of the tournament.

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I was not able to watch the game because it was 4 in the morning in Spain. When I woke up, I was very upset to hear the disappointing news even though I did not see it happen. I watched videos of the game recap, thanks to social media. I am looking forward to March Madness next year when I am back in Arizona.

Spring Fling

Every April, the University of Arizona hosts their annual Spring Fling carnival on campus. Since I attended my first Spring Fling when I was a freshman, it has become one of my favorite events of the year. The carnival has over 40 rides, amazing food booths, and live music.

Since I have been enjoying traveling Europe all semester, I did not think I would care much about missing Spring Fling this year. However, when my friends posted photos and videos from the carnival, it looked like everyone was having a great time. I felt like I was missing out by not attending this year, however, I was informed about it through its’ Twitter account.

This year, We the Kings performed at the carnival. In fact, I found this out when it was tweeted about.

I grew up listening to We the Kings, so I found this to be an awesome headliner for Spring Fling! I even got to see a clip of the performance from Twitter as well.

Traveling abroad has been an amazing experience. However, I think I am ready to head back to school. Four months without my real best friends is long enough. For once in my life I can admit that I am feeling a bit homesick (from college), so I guess Arizona really is my home away from home.

Brand Marketing: Estrella Damm

The former digital media manager of Estrella Damm, Ana López, spoke to my Journalism 2.0 class about brand marketing. Estrella Damm was the first beer brewed in Barcelona in 1876 and is still very popular in Spain today and has expanded to many other countries outside of Spain. However, the brand did not remain popular for all these years without the hard work of the media team, and the current digital marketing team. López talked about how she worked her way up to this position. She also explained the team’s strategies and how they market Estrella Damm all over the world.

López studied journalism and cultural anthropology and worked as a journalist for three years. She switched jobs a few times, however continued with journalism until she was introduced to the world of traditional communication and public relations, before social media existed. She continued her studies and got her masters in communication and marketing, which is how she began working for Estrella in 2009 as a brand manager. Within one year of working at the company, she was promoted to digital marketing manager. However, digital media was just being introduced so López focused more on advertising through television commercials than social media.

However, when social media became more popular, López immediately began utilizing many different platforms to market the brand. The digital media team uses their Twitter (62.2k followers) and Instagram (81.5k followers) accounts the most because they are the two most popular platforms used for advertising. Estrella is also on Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify. Although, when it comes to the their marketing brand strategy, they use social media platforms differently. For instance, Twitter and Instagram are used to market different aspects of the brand.

Twitter is used as a way to market the brand’s campaigns by embedding videos from YouTube so users can simply press “play” to watch instantly. Many people, mostly digital natives, expect to view content fast and efficiently. Without Twitter, users would have to open a new tab, and look for the campaign video on a search engine, which is not as convenient and less likely to happen. When users are already scrolling through their Twitter feed and stumble upon a instant-play video, the chances of them watching it are much more likely.

The team uses Instagram to connect with users based on the current trend. For instance, a current trend on Instagram is landscapes. Many users enjoy viewing photos of beautiful scenery so Estrella did exactly what they had to do. The theme of Estrella’s Instagram account is landscapes, which has nothing to do with beer. López noted that a photo with beer is only posted about once a month. Estrella wants to show people the mediterranean way of life and match with the Instagram community.

#Zakynthos #Greece #mediterrràniament #mediterràneamente #estrelladamm Taken for us by @doyoutravel.

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In 2015, Estrella’s  goal was to sell more of their brand around the world. The company had its big break when Dakota Johnson, an American actress, was featured in a campaign. This video has over 7 million views on YouTube.  This increased brand awareness by 5% in Spain and 30% in the UK.

The campaign focuses on a world target. Despite how different these two cultures are, they were able to share a moment of connectivity by toasting with a bottle of Estrella. By incorporating celebrities from a variety of cultures into one campaign, the brand extended to a wide-range of people. This also connects to celebrity marketing, which exposes a sense of credibility of the brand to a target audience. If a well-known celebrity is drinking Estrella, then others will trust that Estrella is a great beer.

Another way Estrella grows digitally is by collaborating with partners. Working with popular industries like restaurants, festivals, and football teams, creates a diverse community of Estrella Damm partners. For example, Estrella and FC Barcelona work together to promote both brands.

This video is outdated, however, it still shows how the football team and beer companies support one another. Estrella Damm is the official beer for FC Barcelona.

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Estrella also works with Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Sónar, Barcelona World Race, and more. Having good partners is an essential part of brand marketing because it broadens both brand’s networks and keeps good connections with other well-known brands.

Although marketing 2.0 is very important, traditional media and PR is as well. Having credibility builds trust with consumers and other companies. If a brand is not trustworthy, it creates a bad reputation and will negatively impact how others perceive the product.

Knowing how to properly build credibility is key! Combining all of these marketing strategies is how López became successful and well-respected in the world of marketing.

Traveling Abroad: Amsterdam

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of visiting the city of Amsterdam. Everything about it fascinated me – mainly the culture, history, landmarks, and entertainment. In mid-January, I booked my trip for the end of February. Those 6 weeks felt like a year. When the time finally came, I was so excited that I could not sleep the night before my flight.

About 10 minutes after stepping off the plane in Amsterdam, I was in love with the city. I was impressed by everything from the atmosphere and people to the food and landmarks. I am a very relaxed person so I appreciate relaxed environments – which was my first impression of Amsterdam. My roommates and I immediately took a cab to our hotel – The Marriott. We quickly checked in because we were anxious to begin our day.

Our first stop was at Iamsterdam. Iamsterdam is one of Amsterdam’s top landmark. These letters stand tall in the most convenient location – Museumplein, in the museum quarter. I did a lot of research before the trip and discovered that Iamsterdam has a Twitter account (@Iamsterdam).

I had planned (way in advance) to post a photo of myself on top of the “S” on Instagram. When I saw the “S” in person, I realized it was a lot taller than I anticipated. The climb up was a struggle and going down was even worse. I had to hang my arms from the top and drop down, which was risky, but I stuck the landing.

sky high

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Later that day, we visited the Heineken Experience. This “experience” was much more educational than I expected. I learned a lot about Heineken beer, which was actually very interesting. I was unaware of how long it has been around for – established in Amsterdam in 1864.The tour guide showed us how, where, and how long it takes to brew their beer. The tour included two free Heineken beers, which were delicious! Before studying abroad in Europe, I was not very fond of beer, however, my opinion changed early on in the semester. In fact, Heineken is now my personal favorite.

After the Heineken Experience, we went back to the Marriott to get ready for our big night. We bought tickets to see The Weeknd in concert. The Weeknd is my absolute favorite music artist, so you could imagine my excitement. He performed at the Ziggo Dome, which was a very cool venue.

The Weeknd completely blew me away! It was the best concert I’ve ever been to, aside from music festivals. He is incredibly talented and did not take a single break during his hour and a half set. Unfortunately, the post-concert depression hit me as I was walking out of Ziggo Dome. I went to bed wishing I could relive the concert all over again.

The next morning, we were out of the hotel by 9:00 am. Our first activity was a visit to the Anne Frank Museum. I had been looking forward to this for some time. I am very interested in the history of the Holocaust, and Anne Frank’s Diary, containing notes from her experience when she was in hiding during the Holocaust. Exploring the museum in-person was completely different than reading about it. Physically observing what Jewish families, like hers, went through in order to survive made her experience feel real. It was an extremely heartbreaking, yet an incredible museum and I am happy that I was able to experience it.

On a lighter note, my roommates and I ate at The Pancake Bakery, which is a typical restaurant tourists try in Amsterdam. It is highly recommended by anyone who has visited the city.

It definitely lived up to its expectations. I ordered the pancakes with chocolate sauce, ice cream, and whipped cream.

It was delicious, although it was more of a crepe than a pancake. I too, would recommend the Pancake Bakery to anyone.

We took a walk around the city to burn off some of the calories. I observed the Amsterdam locals who seemed extremely peaceful and happy. We took in the city’s beauty as we walked along the canal.

16 Aug 2010, Amsterdam, Netherlands — Canal at night in Amsterdam — Image by © Jean-Pierre Lescourret/Corbis

We stumbled upon The BullDog, Amsterdam’s first coffeeshop, so we had to go in…for the history, of course. It was one of the coolest atmospheres I have ever immersed myself in. In America, marijuana has historically been perceived as a negative connotation, (although, some states are changing that reputation) so seeing it used in a public social setting was fascinating.

We ended our night in the Red Light District. I was not as uncomfortable as I predicted, but I also did not think I would feel so sad for the women. I imagined the Red Light District to have a humorous vibe, but it was very real – nothing funny about it. Although it is sad, it is normal culture for Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is currently at the top of my list of cities I visited abroad. I will be back for you soon, Amsterdam.

 

Food on Instagram

The cycle of social media trends is simple: they come and they go. Most trends do not last forever, in fact, they usually do not last more than a few months. However, the one trend that has stuck around for a while is everyone’s favorite topic: food. The love that people have for food is practically universal. For many people, food is like edible art: beautiful and delicious. A common bond often forms when two people enjoy the same type of food. You might have even heard of the term, “foodie”, because many people consider themselves “foodies”.

Foodie /ˈfuːdi/ noun : A person who is obsessed with food and trying new types of food and restaurants. That person is usually willing to travel places for the purpose of eating a specific food.

If you are an avid user of Instagram, you have probably seen or maybe even follow Instagram accounts solely based on food. They are often referred to as, “Foodstagrams, Food Blogs, Food Instas, etc.” I personally follow many different food Instagram blogs because it encourages me to venture out and try new things. In fact, I was the social media marketer for Spoon University‘s, an online food resource blog for college students, Instagram account at the University of Arizona (@spoon_arizona). I would not necessarily call myself a foodie, however, working with and publishing photos of food was a beneficial experience because it taught me how to push myself to keep up with trends for the foodies who followed the account.

We often see food related posts on other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. However, Instagram seems to be the most consistent social network for food. So, what exactly is it about Instagram that makes it the most successful platform for food blogging?

Well, looking at pictures of delicious food is aesthetically pleasing for the eye. People want to visualize the food and the purpose of Instagram is to share photos and videos with followers. Other platforms allow for photo and video sharing as well, however, Instagram is all about posting more photos and less text. Ask yourself this, would you rather see a photo of white chocolate cream oozing out of a churro or read about it?
@tastetheworld_

Instagram also contains features such as geotags, hashtags, and the discover page (based on accounts the user follows), which allow users to access a wider variety of food pictures.

As cliché as it is, a picture is truly worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to food. There is something so satisfying about viewing photos of delicious food. Like I said, most trends come and go, however, the food trend does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.