Co-op   |   Featured Students   |   News   |   Undergraduate

Communication Studies Student Regina Muller on Co-op Abroad in South Africa

CAMD undergraduate student Regina Muller ’18

CAMD student Regina Muller, who is majoring in Communications and Media Production, recently combined these two passions while on co-op with Penda Photo Tours in Cape Town, South Africa. As the marketing and communications coordinator, her job varied from writing articles and managing social media to business trips on safari! In her four years at Northeastern, Muller explains that her co-op experience has been a major milestone in her life, affirming her self-confidence and her desire to use online communications as a means to create discourse and spread social awareness. Learn more about her experience below.

What did you do in your role as the marketing and communications coordinator at Penda Photo Tours?

At Penda Photo Tours, I sat in a beautiful office in Bo Kaap, where I had a gorgeous view of Lion’s Head, one of the many famous landscapes near my work. My boss encouraged me to focus on work that catered to my interests. I wanted to write and boost our Twitter following, and so she had me write for the website and gave me full control of our Twitter. I would start the day by cranking up the laptop and checking our social media pages. It was also my job to make condensed, easy-to-read articles for the website. I would send completed work to my boss for editing and, once it was approved, I would blast it on all of our social media pages. It was my job to get us the most exposure, likes, comments and traffic to our site. About two months into my co-op, we had gained hundreds of followers and traffic to our site!

Cape Town, South Africa

Did you plan to co-op in South Africa?

I never planned to co-op in South Africa, but choosing to co-op for Penda Photo Tours is the best decision I have made during my time at Northeastern – perhaps even my life! I am a different person than I was before I went; I have new skills, new desires, and new hopes for the future.

What drew you to this co-op?

I have always had a sense of adventure and an interest in photography. I applied to the job for those two reasons alone. It didn’t matter to me whether the job paid better in Boston or New York City because I knew I wanted to travel outside of my comfort zone and take a chance in Cape Town, South Africa.

What were your favorite projects or moments from working at Penda Photo Tours?

A couple of months into my co-op, my boss sent me on a week-long business trip and safari to Kruger National Park. While there, I met one of our freelance photographers and interviewed lots of non-profits we work with, including the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit and African Impact. Little did I know, I would also see a leopard with prey in its mouth from a tree about 20 meters from the open vehicle I sat in. I also saw a family of elephants, a rhinoceros the actual size of my living room, slept in canvas tents that hyenas stalked by at night and fell asleep to the calls and roars of nearby lion prides.

Photo Courtesy of Alan Hewitt

How did your classes at Northeastern prepare you for your co-op?

Honestly, I don’t think anything could have fully prepared me for my co-op in Africa, but this co-op has prepared me for not only my Northeastern classes, but for my career post-graduation.

You are majoring in Communication Studies and Media Production– how did that help you with your co-op?

A lot of people don’t understand what a Communications major is studying. For me, it is online communication. I am a huge proponent of using social media to increase awareness, spread ideas and help social movements gain momentum. Without the four years of experience I’ve learned from taking Communications and Media Production classes, I doubt I could have secured this amazing job in South Africa.

How do you think your co-op experience can be applied to your Northeastern education? After you graduate?

I am actually aiming for a very similar co-op this upcoming semester! My updated resume will definitely give me a leg up and I now have more confidence in my skills, ability and wit because of my co-op experience with Penda Photo Tours in South Africa.