Michelle Buser: New perspectives from Australia

You never know what could happen when you walk into a room. For instance, take Michelle Buser’s story.

One day during her freshman year the desk of Buser’s roommate was scattered with study abroad pamphlets. She had never planned on studying abroad, but she looked through them on a whim. A year and a half later, she found herself studying abroad in Sydney, Australia.

The experience has been the most influential of her undergraduate career.

Buser is in her final year at CSU, majoring in communication studies and minoring in film studies. Before attending CSU, Buser thought had a clear idea of who she was and what she was doing.

“I thought I was so grown up and I didn’t think my perspective could change anymore,” Buser says. She had a very fixed “I know what I’m doing, I have it all figured out” mindset.

This perspective shifted once she got to Australia and really began to learn about herself.

While abroad, Buser learned she’s more dependent on support from other people than she thought. Additionally, as someone who is normally a planner, she realized she could be spontaneous — she not only could travel without firm plans, she could enjoy doing so.

She also learned to inherently trust people she did not know. For example, when traveling from the airport to her hostel in Perth, she had to trust the bus driver who said “sit down and I’ll tell you when to get off” and she was okay with it.

“I built self-confidence, did things I never thought were possible, and learned a lot about myself as a person and what I want for my future,” Buser says of her time in Australia.

Buser says that it was on a visit to Uluru Rock in the Outback that she started to make sense of her future. There she was learning about the sacred landform and the traditions rooted in it. She reflected on her own traditions as well as American traditions and wondered where they come from, why things are the way they are. 

Buser started working David’s Bridal as a stylist after she got back from Australia. She aims to grow in the wedding industry, just like she grew in Australia. She hopes to try out several different aspects of the industry–for example hotel wedding events, and one day potentially start her own business.

It only took a few weeks working at David’s Bridal for Buser to notice the true impact of traditions within the wedding industry and on herself– especially after being inspired and moved at Uluru Rock. Her interest focuses on the history of the traditions. Where do they come from? How do the products she’s selling reflect those traditions?

Skills from Buser’s communication studies classes have enhanced her work quality at David’s Bridal. The three most influential courses she’s taken have been intercultural, global, and professional communication. Collaborating with brides from all backgrounds, filling their needs, and treating them professionally is the product of her communication studies education.

Buser’s current internship as a media specialist and coordinator for CSU’s Apartment Life is adding another layer of communication experience to her overall academic and career portfolio. She creates a monthly newsletter for the residents of the university’s four apartment complexes, plans events for residents, and is spearheading their overall social media engagement.

Buser loves getting a taste of the wedding industry with David’s Bridal, and a taste of PR and event planning with her Apartment Life internship. “It’s two things I love and I’m able to combine them both this semester,” said Buser.

The experiences and insights gained by Buser within the past four years are invaluable. She believes the transformation of her outlook will enable her personality to keep evolving the rest of her life. “I learned I will constantly continue to grow,” said Buser. “And I’m going to be okay with that change.”