HOW I Made the decision to study abroad in england
In these difficult times that we’re living through I often reach for a journal full of pages and photos that captured one of the happiest times of my life. This journal is from my experience studying abroad. The polaroids and ticket stubs taped in these pages remind me that my time abroad will always be with me. I will forever be grateful for the forces that helped me find both Norwich, England and the University of East Anglia (UEA). Because while my time in Norwich was short, a piece of my heart will always be in England.
From the seminars taught by leading scholars to the nights getting ready for a Damn Good Tuesday, I cannot write enough about why UEA was perfect for me. While the educational and extracurricular opportunities at UEA ended up enhancing all aspects of my life, I went there almost by accident. Honestly, I studied abroad on a whim!
1. How Study Abroad Benefited Me – Teaching Me to Be a Better Listener
Before I even studied abroad, one of the benefits that became clear is that I became a better listener thanks to anticipating my international experience. Of all the spontaneous decisions I could make in my life, perhaps the best I ever did was deciding to leave the country! So extra, and so very on brand for Will Samayoa. My second year of college, a private liberal art in Upstate NY, I was eligible to study abroad. I attended a 1-on-1 meeting with my college’s study abroad officer to find out what program would suit me. Obviously, the meeting was very productive because I not only applied to UEA, but it was my only option.
Again, before I even studied abroad, I was becoming a better listener. In meeting with the study abroad officer I did come in with points, but I also heard her advice clearly. She told me about the unique character of not only the international partners but also of the cities we’d be living in. “Big but not too big,” she said when talking about Norwich. “Great media programs and renowned professors.” I did more than just research the numbers and sites, I heard from her testimonials of students who had ventured before I did.
In case you may not know, I went to college with a clear vision of working in the entertainment industry. I never wavered in my passion to work in media and I even meticulously designed a master plan to on how to major in writing & rhetoric with a media minor. The study abroad officer knew this, she admired my focus, and she said, “You need to go to Norwich!” I left this meeting and then went to meet with my professors and advisors. I wanted to genuinely hear them. And when I told both my writing and media faculty that I wanted to study abroad at UEA it was resounding, “Yes, Will!”
2. Study Abroad Benefits - Teaching Me How to live in the moment
Since my semester abroad, I stay living in the moment! Before I studied in Norwich, England I had no international experience. While I studied abroad, I learned how to live in the moment meaningfully. Whether my flat mate invited me to go grocery shopping or I was just invited to join a study group, my time at UEA helped me learn how to say, “yes” to new experiences. Little did I know that in my full-time job after college traveling and having those, “OMG” moments would become my new normal.
Studying abroad benefited me in that I learned how to be present in the most spontaneous and amazing moments ever. I can vividly remember every detail of the Oscars red carpet (oh yes, I was at the 90th Academy Awards, more on that later) because I learned how to live in the moment in Norwich. Without studying abroad, I don’t know that I would even have this blog! Yes, that’s right. This blog and my love for social media flourished while I studied abroad.
Part of how I learned to capture the moment was by starting to play with writing and media. The details in my daily walks from the Ziggs to my seminars in places like the Enterprise Centre stay with me. As many moments as I could capture in words or pics I did. This helped me remember the name and pronunciation of every classmate I met. My time abroad pushed me into the unknown, but the city and people of Norwich welcomed me. My best advice is that if you travel abroad worry less and celebrate more. Celebrate yourself, your work to get there, and the moment.
3. Study Abroad Taught Me How to Embrace and Appreciate Different Cultures
I wish that everyone could study abroad because I think it could help people learn acceptance and tolerance. While I was at UEA I listened to voices from people all over the world. From classmates to strangers I met through everyday tasks, I learned how to listen, embrace, and truly celebrate diversity.
In my case, I was an American student studying British media. I figured that I was not an expert in not only these programs, and I was fine with that. Much like my point of learning to listen, I learned how to listen to voices different from anything I ever heard. What I read and saw was unlike anything my studies in America had shown me. In these seminars I had peers from different countries, different ages, and beyond different life experiences from my own.
Needless to say, my study abroad experience benefits include learning how to embrace and celebrate different cultures. I truly became a global connoisseur of media. My latest work trip included working on world premieres at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The films and storytellers I met came from places like South Africa, the Philippines, China, Canada just to name a few. Thank you UEA for teaching me how to respect and cherish different cultures! I’m a better person and storyteller for it.
4. Everyone Should Study Abroad and To Know Why International Students Matter
When I was in college, I remember an established discourse about international students. Candidly, it's not always a fair one too. But being in the U.K., I was considered an international student. I found this super interesting because I consider myself the "norm" and here the norm has nuance things that made me stick out. "Oh, you're so American," I heard.
What does this even mean?! What do you mean I have an accent?! Wait why is everyone driving on the other side?! There are dozens of questions I asked myself. Learning how to embrace different is important. But actually, feeling different is an even better learning experience. At UEA I stood out and I learned how to honor my identities, as an American, as a Latino, and as a son of an immigrant family. I saw how my friends and faculty made my voice matter.
That’s why I came back to the States knowing that international students’ matter. Students from abroad at universities and colleges bring their own insights and experiences that can enrich us. And this is a dialectic relationship.
5. Study Abroad Taught Me to How to Be Okay Being Alone
As much as I write and talk about how my study abroad experience helped me develop friendships, I’m grateful for the personal growth as well. A lot of my fear in studying abroad came from how I went alone at first. In my study abroad program there were a total of 4 of us from my home college. Granted these 4 people would grow to be some of my lifelong friends, there was a 48-hour period where I was alone in Norwich. No one lived on my flat yet and there was no one I knew yet.
I was lucky that UEA lead some mixers for international students. Because in attending these mixers I met more people who would become travel companies and confidants abroad. But I couldn’t always be around people. My flat mates had their commitments and I had to also find a daily rhythm. My days outside of class were long and I found how to fill them with my own company. Whether I went to the gym, read outside, or wrote my blog at a coffee shop, I was as happy being alone as I was in a crowd.
Studying abroad taught me how to be alone but not be lonely. What I believe is that studying abroad in Norwich, England changed my life for the better. I'm proud to write this blog and reflect on my time at UEA, the friends I made, and the experiences that have defined my life.
I'm curious to know, did you study abroad? Or have you traveled abroad?
Let me know on social media where you went! Share this post and tag me with your answer on Instagram/Twitter @ Willsshowem
Here's to #UEADoesStudyAbroad and #VisitingUEA
Thanks for reading these Words by Will! See you in the next post
Alright we have another Twitter trend that I cannot wait to cut to the chase about. Did you see what I did there? Ahh, sweet puns, the icing on the cake of language. Okay, enough of that! Let's get to today's topic.
The recent, "everything is cake" meme popped up almost out of nowhere. In trying to do some research I could not exactly pinpoint how this meme started. What I do know is that the video screenshot below has been one of the most circulated posts under the trend. With almost 30 million views it's safe to say you may have seen this on your feed under the hashtag #cake.
The responses to this meme have been hilarious to say the least. From people breaking their electronics saying, "not everything is cake" to others joking about our planet being a hyper-real cake, Twitter is having a field day.
This post is dedicated to the recents meme about, "everything is a cake." It's a meme where people joke about how objects that don't look anything like care are actually a pastry. Again, I cannot track where the trend started but I'm sure there was some kind of visual element. I can see the allure of this trend because who doesn't love a good baking show? Whether it's The Great British Bakeoff or Cake Boss we're inherently fascinated by the artistry that goes into making cakes.
This trend takes that interest and just hyperbolizes it by focusing again on hyper real images. Like that cake actually did look like toilet paper! And that flower pot, wow, who knew you could do that with cake?!
However, things have gone somewhat dark in the everything is cake fun. There have been posts ranging from people questioning if they're just cake to cutting their friends to see if they're cake. Below are some screenshots on some of these reactions and responses that kind of went the dark humor route.
I think that trends on Twitter are special in that the most random things can be sensational. The cake meme on Twitter blew up, but for the most part I've seen it stay in the realm of Twitter. Currently I'm following some trends to write about but this one did deserve it's own sweet post.
Let me know have you seen or heard of this trend? And what's your favorite #cake? If you come across a trend or meme you'd like me to react to tag me! @Willsshowem
Thanks for reading these Words by Will! I'll see you in the next post.
It takes a lot to break the internet but leave it to the Smiths, in this case Jada Pinkett Smith, to reign over Twitter and usher in one of the greatest new memes of 2020. Over the weekend of July 10th, Twitter blew up as news broke of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith both confirmed her connection to American singer August Alsina. We know it was a romantic relationship because it was confirmed by Alsina himself.
However, the best part about all of this media frenzy that’s come out isn’t really the details on The Smiths personal life and history. No. The real nugget of this whole moment is Jada Pinkett Smith uttering the instantly iconic phrase, "I got into an entanglement.” This right here this is what we’re here to talk about. Because as soon as Pinkett Smith said this Twitter and TikTok wasted no time in low key airing their own laundry and their own entanglements.
If you head to Twitter and type in #entanglement I guarantee you will find a rich set of memes, GIFs, and edits that leave you in tears. In trying to write this post I got sucked into #entanglement and I had to pull myself out. One could say I was in an entanglement with Twitter… See I was in an entanglement with my phone, but for Millennials and Gen Z what they think this word means is a bit different from what I mean.
Below are screenshots of some of my favorite memes:
One thing we have to discuss is while entanglement actually means one thing, the connotation that’s circulating is coming from the context of Pinkett Smith’s utterance. While the denotation of entanglement just means being tied up in a complex situation, the way #entanglement is being used refers to a relationship that’s either romantic or sexual. It took Urban Dictionary almost no time to answer people’s question of, “What does entanglement mean?”
We have to remember that Urban Dictionary is crowd sourced platform, meaning that people can create their own definitions and others vote on it. Essentially people are creating discourse, yeah, sorry for the big words, on words that already exist. It's actually so interesting to think about how we're making meaning around things that already exist... Anyways here's what UD has has their top definition for the now infamous word.
Some of my favorite ways I’ve seen people say that they were in entanglements is in memes about them avoiding work, talking about their hookups, or just as excuses for almost anything. If I were to tell my boss, whose much older than me, that I missed a meeting because of an entanglement I don't think he'd question me. It would essentially mean the same as I was busy with something else. However, if my friend asked me why I didn't reply to them and I said, "I was in an entanglement" it would totally mean something else. "Spill the T!" is probably how my friend would respond.
This is all to say that it should come as no shocker that words definitions sometimes don't translate across generations. I am in Gen Z and I know both what this world actually means what what Jada Pinkett Smith's entanglement means. Just know how you're using this word and who you're using it with. Because you don't want to have to untangle yourself out of some drama should you say you're in an entanglement. But now the question arises, how do you know if you know if you're in one of these complex situations?
How do you know if you're in an ENTANGLEMENT?
When people my age are talking about being in entanglements with their hookups, or exes, or friends with benefits, it's more of a play on the complicated depth of Pinkett Smith's statement. I think that if you're in an entanglement you know it. You know when you're in a bad relationship. And just like The Smiths talked about their issues and getting out of it, if we feel tied up in a mess we have to undo it too.
While people are parodying Pinkett Smith’s line I must say that I respect her and Will Smith for being honest and open the way they have. Talking about relationship issues and marital issues, especially in such a public way, takes guts and real courage.
We can all keep saying that we’re in #entanglements but it’s worth remembering that sometimes we also do need to get untangled back up.
Let me know, did you know what entanglement meant or did you have to look it up? Or, what's your favorite #entanglement meme? If you liked this post make sure to share it and tag me @ Willsshowem so I can entangle you in a social media shoutout!
Click below to head back to the main blog - PS this is the first post in a new section I'm dedicating to pop culture/social media/and trendy topics!
Thanks for reading these Words by Will! See you in the next post!
Tomorrow starting at 9 AM PCT, I will be taking over the Oscars’ snapchat in honor of the Academy Gold Program’s graduation ceremony. Along with being elected as the student speaker, I will be giving an inside view of the closing today for this revolutionary program. Make sure to add the Academy’s Snapchat: Theacademy to see the full story.
The ceremony will include recognizing interns from across 20 of the most successful companies in entertainment like Disney, HBO, FremantleMedia, Fotokem, Technicolor, Warner Bros., and many more. The Academy will also announce the mentor pairings for the Gold interns. Each of the 68 Gold interns will receive a mentor.
Mentors are Academy members, many Oscar winners, who have volunteered to offer their time and expertise about breaking into Hollywood. Along with having mentors, the soon to be alumni will be invited to continue to attend Academy screenings. For those interested in fellowships and contests, the Academy will waive the fee for former Gold interns to enter contests.
Tomorrow is sure to be an amazing ceremony, and I hope you can follow along. The Academy’s Snapchat is theacademy .
Between two premiere internships this summer, I have gained an invaluable and intimate knowledge of the unspoken rules and moves to make in order to make it into the Hollywood biz. A lot of what I learned seems like common sense, but all too often students and hopefuls let their ambition blind them from being courteous and careful. Unlike other industries, in entertainment you have to give face-face-face and then still give face.
I live by the motto that it's not about who you know, but rather who knows you.
I think instead of just having a pile of business cards it's more important to build a cohesive network that knows you. Who can advocate for you and your talents? That's one rule in this business that almost every executive I have met has discussed. For many at HWS, Hollywood represents the pinnacle of making it in entertainment. I won't disagree. But I will say that I do not think everyone is made for Hollywood, and I especially do not think that Hollywood will accept everyone either.
I have only been to NYC once and so I cannot speak on the city's culture, but having grown up in the City of Angels I can tell you how this city works. Between my publicity internship in Burbank, CA and my time throughout Beverly Hills and Santa Monica attending panels and screenings, I can also tell you how this industry works.
One of the greatest lessons I got from my father was the importance of finding your team - Sofia Coppola
I cannot tell you how small the entertainment industry truly is! I swear everyone knows everyone and the 6 degrees of separation feels like 3. Earlier last week, Fremantle sent its' monthly newsletter out introducing us interns, and out of nowhere I got an email from a Hobart alum. He was ecstatic to find someone from the college unknown to most in L.A. working in the same company as him. This shows how you never know who you will run into, and it also shows how communication channels are so tight in this town.
Finding your team means finding people in your company, and neighboring companies, that you can trust to support you in your career. Whether you grab lunch together or ask for advice on a project, your team compliments your weakness. You then offer your strengths to compliment them. As an intern, this is a prime time to build my network because this is when I have the time to explore. My host company, FremantleMedia, has 10 interns and I am proud to say that they have become my team. We grab lunch together, go out together, and we even help each other connect to the contacts we have.
Building a team is crucial in this industry because in order to advance you have to have a platform behind you. Never burn a bridge in Hollywood because you may never get a second chance.
There is the misconception that as people of color in entertainment you are competing with each other, but that's not the case. The right opportunity will find you and you have to believe that. - Jada Pinkett Smith
At most colleges like HWS, there are two groups of students that want to work in entertainment. One group consists of people with some avenue into the industry, nepotism is real y'all, and then there are those with no connection at all. I am in the latter group. Regardless, breaking into Hollywood is tough.
What I want to share with you is how not every opportunity you get will be the right fit. While you may land what you think to be your dream job, the truth is you don't know what is right for you until you get it. I had no idea that I would like the realm of public relations and marketing as much as I would have until I got to work at my current desk. I had been offered a position with the scripted department, but I admit to my HR contact that I was hesitant on accepting the role. That's when she told me how just minutes before the call the Senior Vice President of Communications & Marketing had asked for an intern. The rest is history.
Many of the executives I met have all shared vastly different stories in to how they got in. Some sent in cold applications and others bounced around for years before it clicked that show biz was for them. The point of this point is that you cannot expect to land at your dream desk without paying your dues. That means starting in the mailroom and working your way up. There's a reason agencies use this model.
If what you want is money or to build your ego than leave. You have to love story telling if you want to work here, that's the secret - Victoria Alonso
One of the most salient points I have learned this summer is that Hollywood is not as glamorous as one may think. There are more roles that just writing, directing and producing. Any vocation you can think of can be under the umbrella of show biz, but that doesn't mean it's for everyone. We do not have "normal" 9 to 5 days. We do not spend all day just meeting celebrities. We especially do not all eat kale salads for lunch. We work hard.
In regards to film, movies are planned at least 7-10 years before they come out. Television shows are born 4-6 years before you see them on the small screen. That means that the work that goes into what you see is around the clock. The average talent agent works 18-20 hour days. What about weekends you may ask? What are those?
Entertainment is a a very demanding industry, but the pay off is amazing. In my case, my team will go on set from 8 AM and not leave until 7 PM. During this time, talent is being prepared, journalists are being called and rallied, and phones are on making sure all meetings for the next day are still on. Thus I reiterate this point, if what you want is money, fame, or glory, than take a velvet seat because you won't ever be on the screen just admiring it.
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.