Digital media skills are in higher demand than ever, so there's never been a better time to get a jump-start on your future by studying abroad in one of these cutting-edge fields. A degree in one of the many digital media fields opens the door to an amazing range of job possibilities all around the world, in areas from web design to digital journalism.
Fortunately for you, plenty of foreign universities have invested in programs to support the creativity and innovation of digitally-minded students. From Berlin to Melbourne, here are some of the places you may want to consider for study in a digital media field.
The "digital media" umbrella covers a broad spectrum from graphic design to social media management. Whether you like to spend your days surrounded by screens full of code or up to your eyeballs in Twitter data, there's a home for you in the digital media world. Here are a few potential fields of study:
As a graphic designer, you'll become an expert in fundamentals like fonts, typography, logo design, branding, and color theory. Furthermore, you'll learn how to work on design planning, collaborate with different industries and fields, and incorporate interactive media. If your program has a practicum component that pairs you with real-life clients, you can add the work you do to your portfolio to give it a little extra international flair.
You'll learn about essential principles of design and master code languages like HTML and CSS. If you're enrolled in a design course that has a business component, you can also learn more about the other side of design, including business development and marketing -- because what's the point of creating a beautiful site if you can't get anyone to look at it?
User Experience (UX)
Studying UX design means you'll be immersed in web-based design tasks oriented toward working with people, rather than just camping out behind a screen. You'll work on creating and improving interactive wireframes, developing personas and scenarios, perfecting usability testing sessions, and conducting user interviews.
Journalism is so much more than what appears on the front page of your local newspaper. As a journalism student, you'll have the chance to explore many different forms of storytelling, including photography, audio, video production and editing, multimedia, social media, graphic design, and animation. You'll also be building fundamental skills in reporting, writing, and interviewing.
Study how to Snapchat? You betcha! Studies in social media go beyond just mastering how to use all those apps, though -- you'll also be trained in metrics, branding, audience engagement, social marketing, and other skills that have become indispensable in today's social world.
Ready to create the next life-changing app? Studying app design and development will cover the human aspects of this work (identifying demand or a market, designing for your audience's needs, logo design and branding) as well as the tech side of things (creating a user interface, writing the code itself, adapting to different operating systems, and so on).
Where to Go
One of Europe's hubs for all things digital and media, London is the place to go if you want to be immersed in a fast-paced, international capital. In addition to the great educational offerings, many major media, design, marketing, and tech companies have headquarters or offices in London, so you'll be in the epicenter of the industry -- and best of all, you already speak the language!
The continental counterpart to London, trendy Berlin has all of the same advantages with the added bonus of better beer. Berlin is another primary center for media and tech entrepreneur types, and is home to some of Europe's most innovative agencies and most exciting startups, as well as some top-notch universities.
It's impossible to talk about digital innovation without talking about Japan, the source of some of the world's best and most creative designers and developers. For everything from video games to marketing, Tokyo-based programs and companies are always pushing the technological envelope, and studying there is sure to keep you challenged and entertained.
With plenty of university programs for aspiring designers and developers, Melbourne is the digital capital of the Pacific. Australia's second largest city houses many of the country's biggest agencies, and its international personality ensures you'll have a chance to interact with and learn from a diverse range of professors, mentors and other students.
Brazil is one of the biggest digital markets in the world -- it has the biggest user bases for Facebook and YouTube after the U.S. -- and São Paulo is its sparkling digital hub. Most Brazilian (and Latin American) agencies and companies have offices in this skyscraping mega-city, which also has some of the country's top universities. If you're interested in studying or working in the Americas, this is the place to be.
Planning Your Trip
Most study abroad programs offer housing options, either through a homestay with a local family or in student housing (dorms or apartments). If you're enrolling directly in a local university, you may not have guaranteed housing, but the university might be able to help you find somewhere to live.
Unfortunately, there aren't a ton of scholarships out there for digital media studies, partly just because so many areas of study are relatively new. Your university might have other funding available for study abroad, though, or you may match the profile for an external scholarship, so make sure to talk to your study abroad office about your options.