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My First Year with DePaul PRSSA as an International Student

By Tamas Zador

When I first came to DePaul, I wasn’t a public relations major nor was I a member of PRSSA, but I wanted to get involved with a student organization on campus to gain relevant and hands-on experience that is similar to an internship or job. As an international student, the guidelines to work legally are a lot stricter than they are for American college students. As many international students have strict guidelines to follow abroad, we:

  • Cannot work off campus unless it is an internship

  • Have to take an internship class along with an internship

  • Can only work 20 hours a week if the internship is unpaid

  • Have to have an internship related to our major studies

  • Have to obtain a CPT (Curricular Practical Training) for an internship. CPT is approved by university staff and the government

  • Receive one year of work eligibility, also known as, OPT (optional practical training)

However, joining a campus organization does not have to follow these same regulations, so PRSSA was a perfect opportunity for me to gain experience within these guidelines. I soon learned that PRSSA’s network extends far beyond a campus organization to professionals and companies in the public relations industry.

DePaul PRSSA always stood out for me from other student-run on-campus organizations. For one, it is well advertised on all social platforms. In addition, professors spread the word about networking events, agency visits, and professional development workshops.This already speaks volumes about the benefits, as even the College of Communication faculty believe that attending meetings and insightful networking events are rewarding.

At first, I didn’t plan to apply for an Executive Board position, I just wanted to meet with students and professionals that wanted the opportunity to connect with. During winter quarter, an opportunity presented itself to apply to be part of the student leadership behind DePaul PRSSA. I was excited about the opportunity and to be the only male student among many accomplished female PR student leaders. It was a chance for me to learn from fellow students who have been more involved with the community and professional development on campus.

With the current circumstances, I was supposed to begin as the VP of Community Outreach during the Spring quarter, but evidently, this never happened in person. The e-board did a great job of moving all meetings and networking events online. It was a considerable change, but I was able to contribute to our group which stayed creative and was able to provide constant content throughout the quarter.

Given that my first chapter at PRSSA was different from what I had imagined, my individual responsibilities were reduced a lot, but dedicated teamwork sparked. I was impressed and entertained by the work our group accomplished, which started by covering and creating awareness regarding health updates during the pandemic. We also worked to provide a social platform for students to meet with professionals online and to discuss industry topics. Overall, our mission was to provide a space where our community could stay connected.

During my time at PRSSA, I gained new friends and professional contacts through the meetings and events. I hope we will resume in-person meetings soon to experience the other side of PRSSA as well.


Learn more about Tommy!

Tommy is currently a senior at DePaul and came to study public relations and advertising from his hometown, Budapest, Hungary.

Tommy is a proud member of DePaul tennis. He hopes to work in the sports and entertainment industry to get involved in a PR or marketing related position.

Tommy serves as our VP of Community Outreach, connecting PRSSA with other organizations on campus and spreading the word about us! Connect with Tommy on LinkedIn and other PRSSA executive board members by checking out the rest of our awesome team, here!


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