Traveling to a foreign country on your own is scary, but in a good way. We always learn more when we’re pushed away from our comfort zone, and a study or career opportunity in Europe will shape your future for the better. Although you probably can’t help but feel intimidated by the lengthy solo travel to a city that you know almost nothing about, here we’ve outlined a few tips in the hopes of dispelling any fears of your summer Euro travels.
Stay on top of your health insurance
Before making the big trip over there, Travel Zoo reminds you to update your vaccinations as well as any prescriptions you may have. In addition to that, you’ll also need to review coverage policies on overseas emergencies. Consider supplemental insurance if your provider doesn’t cover international medical expenses.
Consider your banking options
Most people who are on an exchange or internship program this summer will probably set up local bank accounts to avoid charges on foreign exchange and withdrawals. But Go Overseas suggests that you call your bank prior to your travels to check for partnerships with European financial institutions that allow you to withdraw from their ATMs free of charge.
Embrace public transportation
While you may be used to taking cabs back home when you go to and from the airport, doing so abroad will quickly cause you a lot of unwanted expenses. Most airports have numerous alternatives to overpriced airport taxis that are ready to bump up their rates for tourists. Flying into a major international hub like Heathrow, airport parking aggregator Parking4Less assures visitors that they have plenty of transport options to get into the city, with express trains available as well as the Tube connecting them to central London. Additionally, if visitors are getting picked up by friends or relatives, short stay parking options provided by the airport will give them the ideal option for a quick exit, and a more cost-effective method of parking while waiting for your plane to arrive.
Do as the locals do
The point of studying or working in Europe is to expand your horizons and experience more than what the typical tourist would. Living like a local will help you get acclimated with your temporary home much faster, and by “do as the locals do,” expect to shop and eat at family run businesses, ditch the normal collegiate wear for something a little more stylish, learn the language, and only reserve the backpack during travel times. As the Independent Traveler says, a backpack of any size may mark you as a tourist.
Good luck and happy traveling!
This summer in Tel Aviv, Cathy Shafran, director of ieiMedia’s Jerusalem Program, ran into Léa Bouchoucha, a 2014 alum of the Istanbul Program. Shafran learned that, in part because of her Istanbul internship, Bouchoucha is now working for an international TV station. This is Shafran’s report.
JAFFA, ISRAEL—French-born Léa Bouchoucha was an inquisitive child. As long as she can remember, she wanted to be a private detective or an investigator.
By the time she was college age, the desire to be an investigator turned into a passion for journalism. But not just any journalism—international journalism.
It took more than ten years, ten internships, and hands-on experience with an international reporting program to realize that dream. But within months of Bouchoucha’s study-abroad experience at age 32, she finally landed an overseas TV position. Bouchoucha says it was her resume, her “clip reel,” and international experience from a 2014 month-long study-abroad program with ieiMedia in Istanbul that finally helped her dream come to reality.
“The program in Turkey allowed me enough time to immerse myself in the country,” said Bouchoucha. “But I came to Turkey very serious about the program. I was already pitching my story ideas before the program started. I scheduled my interviews in advance.”
Bouchoucha describes herself as the student in the program who came knowing what she wanted before she arrived. She had already spent the past decade studying at the Sorbonne University in Paris and working diligently at internships at Euro News Channel, Le Figaro magazine, and CNN-Paris hoping to get a leg up on her career. While none of that landed her a job, she says it made her more passionate about international reporting as her future.
“The only thing I knew was that I wanted to be a journalist,” she said. “I realized I wanted to be a journalist, but I didn’t have any skill. So I applied to grad school, and was accepted at NYU’s school of journalism.”
It was at New York University that she learned of the month-long study-abroad option through ieiMedia. She struggled with whether to attend ieiMedia’s program in Istanbul or in Jerusalem. She knew she wanted the opportunity to work as a hard news journalist. She chose the Istanbul program because of a personal connection with an old Turkish boyfriend.
It turned out to be the experience she had been seeking for more than a decade.
“It was all organized to prepare me to be a good journalist,” said Bouchoucha. “IeiMedia gave me the space to grow my skills. At NYU there was no time for long-form journalism. IeiMedia gave me the opportunity to write about what I really cared about.”
Bouchoucha says the program was structured to meet both the needs of a student with mild interest in the topic and those, like herself, who came with a commitment to the field.
“In Turkey I was assigned to one professional. She edited my story and gave me advice. I learned about the challenges of working in a foreign country with a foreign language. I learned that the best way to make contact where language is an issue.” With a great deal of self motivation and the assistance of her mentors in the month-long program, Bouchoucha completed two video pieces about Syrian refugees escaping into Turkey.
“When I finished the program, it told me, ‘Yes! This is what I want to do,’” said Bouchoucha. “I was very happy. I knew this was the kind of work I wanted.”
Three months later, after completing her work at NYU, Bouchoucha began a job search with her “reel” from the ieiMedia program in hand.
A friend told her about an opportunity at the i24 News channel in Tel Aviv, and that week she was on a plane to Israel for an interview.
“They told me they were impressed with my resume. They were looking for someone with internship experience. They said it showed I had the ability to adapt in a foreign environment.”
Executives at i24 News called her later that week and offered her a position as a News Editor. She eagerly took the job, and now coordinates daily live newscasts on the international 24-hour news and current affairs television channel based in the Jaffa port of Tel Aviv, Israel. Bouchoucha works the French desk at the news channel that broadcasts in English, French, and Arabic.
“Finally, after 10 years!” Bouchoucha exclaimed with a broad smile. “My first real job in an international newsroom.”
While busy on the desk, Bouchoucha still dreams of being in the field reporting. She says a mentor in the ieiMedia program gave her a leg up in that direction as well.
“Mary D’Ambrosio, the director in Turkey, really helped me,” Bouchoucha said. “What was most helpful was that she told me about Women’s E-News, a smaller publication reporting on women’s issues around the world. Before that, I wanted to work in big media. I realized with small media you have much more opportunity to do longer meaningful pieces.”
And so Bouchoucha’s time in Tel Aviv is busy, working the i24News desk during the day and freelance writing for Women’s E-News at night.
She reflected on her accomplishments since the 2014 ieiMedia program as she walked past the clattering sound of reporters and anchors filing their stories in the i24News newsroom. She looked up with a knowing grin.
“After a lot of work, this is finally my beginning,” said Bouchoucha.
Each summer in Armagh, Northern Ireland, students come together to work on refining their writing skills and creating work to add to their portfolios. They leave as not as students, but Writers–ready to engage the world through the stories they tell. In the video below, participants in Armagh Project 2015 share their experiences.
The Institute for Education in International Media (ieiMedia) invites communications faculty at accredited American colleges and universities to apply for Research Fellowships at its 2016 summer media programs in Croatia, France, Israel, Italy, Northern Ireland, Norway, and Spain.
Accepted Research Fellows will receive a $3,000 grant toward the $4,995 cost of a program and will have access to all the amenities of the program site. Non-participating spouses are welcome at a cost of $1,200 for four weeks; children, unfortunately, are not allowed. Fellows will pay their own airfare and insurance.
Research Fellows will have regular informal access to the program faculty for pedagogical and theoretical exchanges. In addition, they will participate in one or more of the program’s teaching modules and will serve as a resource to faculty and students where appropriate. We have created these opportunities in response to many queries from comm faculty interested in investigating the techniques and effectiveness of experiential learning, boot-camp teaching, short-term programs, and intercultural reporting.
In 2014, our first Research Fellow, Barry Janes, professor of communication at Rider University, participated in the Urbino Program, where he assisted in the video module and advised students on their projects. He returned in 2015 as a full faculty member.
This summer, the Urbino Program hosted two Faculty Fellows, Sonya DiPalma, assistant professor of public relations at University of North Carolina, and Suzanne Popovich Chandler, assistant professor in creative media and broadcast electronic media at University of Oklahoma. In addition, Jack Zibluk, professor of mass media at Southeast Missouri State University, joined the team of the Istanbul Program as a Fellow.
Istanbul Program Director Mary D’Ambrosio, assistant professor of practice at Rutgers University, agrees: “A faculty fellowship is a great way to learn about teaching abroad, and to have an opportunity to contribute one’s own expertise to an international program.”
“As a Fellow, while observing the vast experience assembled in Urbino,” she says, “I knew students would learn photography, writing, video, and magazine production. What I did not anticipate was the extent they would grow not only as truly gifted multimedia journalists producing amazing work, but also as adult citizens of a global economy, as individuals with curiosity who embrace and appreciate the similarities as well as diversities among us.”
DiPalma interviewed Urbino students for a research paper tentatively titled “Experiential Learning in a Foreign Culture,” which she will submit to the 2016 AEJMC Southeast Colloquium. “IeiMedia provides the ultimate faculty development experience for learning how to teach the three components of a multimedia package–text, photo story and video story,” she says. “Take advantage of the opportunity to revitalize your application courses through in-depth conversations with professionals from both academia and the media.”
To apply: Email me at email@example.com to explain your interest in this opportunity and how it might have an impact on your teaching or administrative role. If there is a particular research question you plan to address, please describe that. Include with the email your vita, a letter of recommendation from your unit head, and a sample of or link to your writing, other work or research. We expect a written reflection at the end that you may also share with your department.
Michael Dorsher, Ph.D., a journalism professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and former Fulbright Scholar, has accepted appointment as admissions director of the Institute for Education in International Media, ieiMedia Founder and President Andrew Ciofalo said today.
As admissions director, Dorsher will be responsible for vetting applicants to all eight of ieiMedia’s 2016 summer study abroad programs, answering inquiries, collecting references and coordinating communication among applicants and program directors. Dorsher also will continue as program director of ieiMedia’s multimedia journalism program based in Nice, France, a position he has held the past two years.
“I’m happy to be taking on increased responsibilities with ieiMedia,” Dorsher said, “because I’ve found it to be the absolute best study abroad program for journalism and communication students – and faculty. There’s no better preparation for success in today’s global society than an intensive cross-cultural, multimedia study abroad program such as ieiMedia’s.”
In addition to leading ieiMedia’s Nice-based program, Dorsher led study abroad students to Peru in 2012 and England in 2008. Conversant in French and Spanish, he studied abroad himself as a post-doctorate Fulbright Scholar at Montreal’s McGill University in 2008-09 and as an undergraduate at England’s Oxford University. He earned a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Maryland in 1999 and joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2000.
Dorsher is the co-author of a leading media ethics textbook and an active researcher and freelance journalist. Before entering academia, he was an award-winning reporter and editor for 20 years, capped by four years as one of the founding homepage editors of washingtonpost.com.
The same organizational skills and attention to detail that made Dorsher a top-level editor and successful program director will make him an excellent admissions director, Ciofalo said. “He makes my job easier, and he’s passionate about study abroad. What more could I ask?”
While ieiMedia is a non-denominational institute, its educational approach is better understood within the context of Ignatian philosophy that informs education at Jesuit universities. I am Professor Emeritus at Loyola University (Maryland), where I taught journalism for 27 years.
The ideals of Jesuit education involve engaging the world and the development of the whole person. Initiative, professionalism and citizenship—all fully graded components in ieiMedia summer programs abroad—are among the hallmarks of experiential learning that support the education of the whole person beyond the mere acquisition of media skills. Applied ethics underlies all student decisions and actions in an experiential learning environment. I believe that from the get go, students should be exposed to Joseph Pulitzer’s dictum, still found on the masthead of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that places the practice of journalism at the service of those who have no voices in the halls of power. This is the secular root of all liberal journalism which intertwines very nicely with the “peace and justice” perspective we find threaded throughout Jesuit education today.
In field-based practica, the classroom gives way very early on to a collegial relationship between teacher and student, mimicking the relationship between editor and writer. Within that context the educational process becomes very individualized and uses the student’s mistakes and errors not to punish him but to exploit “learning opportunities”—the very essence of experiential learning.
Process courses, such as writing and reporting, usually work best when students are liberated from the inhibiting environment of the classroom. As long as the professor expounds from the front of the classroom, the student is kept in a receptive mode rather than interactive, regardless of how Socratic the method may be. Switching into a collegial mode accelerates learning at the cognitive level and, most importantly, reinforces the student’s self-awareness and ergo self-confidence. Launching the student on an inner journey of self discovery enables every aspect of cura personalis (care for the whole person).
In the typical lecture/discussion course, the opening salvo of overarching ideas and principles does little to foster the interactive learning environment. Thrusting students right into the fray, giving them the courage to make mistakes, builds the experiential skeleton which can later be fleshed out with theoretical concepts. When the professor and the student share a common experiential base, abstract discussions of principles and theory (including behaviors) are more cognitively effective.
In teaching long-form writing courses, the tendency is to start with various professional and literary models which through osmosis and analysis are supposed to inform the students’ understanding of what he is supposed to do. The fact is, the analysis will be better later on after the student has personally experienced the process and begun to find his own voice rather than mimic other voices.
My approach is to use a series of exercises to develop the building blocks students will need before creating their own narrative. At this stage, students need feedback and not a grade. In fact, it is the repetitive act of writing that activates new neural pathways to creativity. Peer learning is important at this stage because shared work shows how others are approaching the exact same material. This accelerates the learning process and reduces the number of writing tasks required to bring students to a common level of performance and understanding.
In the narrative stage, the role of the professor/colleague is to reference the text to the building blocks and ask the student to assess his own performance and do any necessary rewrites to enrich the various parts, sentence by sentence. At the same time, the student assesses his text to determine if it has met his objectives and if those objectives are of any value to the audience, and if not, how to reorganize to accomplish that goal. In many writing courses, it is one first draft, one rewrite and out. In experiential learning, one directs the student to restructure the narrative one step at a time (e.g., “This is good so far; now go back and add [this]”). A student’s achievement is best measured not by grading multiple articles based on a truncated two-step process; two narratives are all that is needed—a first narrative that is the product of multiple drafts, and a second narrative that is not subjected to a guided drafting process.
Building from the bottom up, that is the essence of Jesuit pedagogy.
After five summers of teaching abroad with ieiMedia, I’ve seen students take different approaches to the study-abroad experience. Some mostly stick with their compatriots; others dive into the local community, seeking out cultural challenges.
Many of our students have described their experiences overseas as life-changing, but each year a few adventurous students get a little more out of it than others. Here are a few things I’ve learned from them:
1) Be curious. Studying – and, even more, reporting — abroad gives you the opportunity to peak behind the curtain of people’s lives. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Inquire about customs, foods, fashions and traditions that seem foreign to you. Most of the time locals are happy to share their culture with you.
2) Get to know your interpreters. Many of the ieiMedia interpreters are local students who are eager to practice their English and translation skills with visiting journalists. They can also offer a special window into their culture. One summer in Jerusalem, an interpreter invited me and a student to her family’s Old Jerusalem home to share the iftar break fast, the meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset. Over the course of that dinner of chicken and yellow, spice-infused rice, it became clear that though the family lived in a predominantly Jewish city, the American student and I were the first Jewish people to ever visit their home. The interpreter’s mother and I didn’t speak each other’s language but, communicating through the young interpreter, we were able to forge a profound bond.
3) Become a regular. One of the biggest differences between touring and living in a community is that you get a chance to get to know regular people – not just hotel clerks and tour guides but shopkeepers and baristas. In each place I’ve taught, I’ve tried to develop a relationship with local people. In Perpignan, it was with the woman who ran the produce store near my apartment. As my French improved we would have simple chats about her cat and what fruits were best that day. In Jerusalem, I developed a fondness for the fresh halva sold at Halva Kingdom in the Machane Yehuda Market, where the proprietor and I would debate which was the best flavor of the sesame candy – pistachio, cashew, chocolate or coffee.
4) Network like crazy. In most ieiMedia programs, students have an opportunity to meet with local and international media professionals. But each summer a few students go beyond the routine smile and handshake and parlay those meetings into professional opportunities. One summer in Urbino, San Francisco State University photography student Giovanna Borgna published photographs with the local newspaper, il Resto del Carlino. In 2013, Amara McLaughlin of Mt. Royal University published a story and photos in The Jerusalem Post. Maya Shwayder, another Jerusalem student, so impressed the Post editors that she became the newspaper’s correspondent in New York and at the United Nations after she returned home. You can read her work on the newspaper’s website.
Taksim Square in Istanbul was jammed with protestors as summer 2013 approached. Our students in international reporting were scheduled to arrive in mid-June. Unlike many study abroad programs conducted from the relative safety of overseas campuses, our journalism students were involved in an experiential program that emphasized reporting from the community.
While no parents or students expressed any concern to us, some on our faculty were uneasy. Are we putting our students in harm’s way?
The ieiMedia advance party, including our program director and a faculty member, reported back that beyond Taksim Tquare life was normal and peaceful in Istanbul. They even walked through Taksim Square and reported that the atmosphere and action was much calmer than the daily images crowding TV screens back in the U.S.
Any decision on the safety of a program should not be based on the tunnel vision provided by the market demands of American media. We not only rely on first-hand observations, but we are governed by the U.S. State Department’s warning system about travel to particular countries.
For our students, being in Istanbul at this time was a bonanza. They could compare for themselves the exaggerated coverage in the media to the actual situation on the ground. They nibbled at the edges of Taksim, under faculty supervision, and engaged protest leaders in depth interviews well away from the action. And they balanced their approach with reports showing how other issues continue to concern Istanbul citizens beyond the noise of Taksim. The incredible stories they produced can be found at our 2013 project site, The Battle for Istanbul.
As we prepare for 2015, once again we are observing Istanbul and Israel very closely. For instance, we know that in Jerusalem, like Istanbul, the action is limited to small geographic pinpoints. TV (Tunnel Vision) makes the situation seem larger than life, but of greater concern are individual, private acts of violence between citizens. We have the option to make program adjustments that keep us mostly on the Hebrew University’s highly secure campus and to function in areas far from the conflict zones.
The fact that our students can be so productive in a stressful environment speaks volumes on their resumes. But most important, such programs challenge them to rise above the usual soft features to get at the underlying problems in a society. This is experiential learning at its best.
What happens when American Hip Hop fuses with the vibrant nightlife of Florence, Italy? You get an international vibe, a celebration of black music, dance, and street poetry reborn in Tuscany’s premier city for culture and art.
Hip Hop adds a new vernacular to ieiMedia’s study abroad program. Under the guidance of award-winning journalism and theatre faculty from Winston Salem State, North Carolina Central, and Florida A&M, students will have a dual opportunity this summer to perform hip hop while studying and producing multimedia stories about it in text, video, photography, broadcast, and sound.
Students will learn the story-telling skills of foreign correspondents. And they will wander the piazzas, cobblestone streets, boutiques, and galleries of a city that has more astonishing architecture and art per square meter than any other in the world.
This unique study tour will balance intensive multimedia practice in a specialty track of a student’s choice (print, broadcast, photography and publication design, or video) with free time to research, perform, and savor this magnet of Renaissance culture.
Climb the red-roofed Duomo designed by architect Filippo Brunelleschi, then join us for an excursion to the hilly, sun-drenched vineyards of Tuscany for wine and food tastings. Study Michelangelo’s magnificent statue of David in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Wander to the Piazza della Signoria after a rainstorm, and visit the Uffizi Gallery guarded by Perseus and the Gorgon.
At dusk, take in the nightlife of Florence’s vibrant clubs and dance and report your heart away.
The program–including accommodation, travel insurance, welcome and farewell dinners, program activities and cultural events–costs $4,995 plus airfare. For more details, see our full course description.
Urbino 2012 student Laura Weeks is featured on a blog for her company. She describes the importance of her Urbino experience when responding to the question, “What’s one of your biggest accomplishments?”
“In 2012, I spent a month in Italy studying multimedia journalism. Not only was it my first time out of the country, but we were in a town where very little English was spoken. Despite these challenges, I sought out my own story idea and developed it across written, visual and audio platforms. Running around the city, scheduling interviews and photo shoots, late-night editing sessions — I loved every second of it. In the end, my photography was voted No. 1 and article among the top five by our faculty, which included a Pulitzer-winning reporter, a Washington Post photographer and a former New York Times art director.”
Check out the blog entry at: http://blog.magnetsusa.com/2014/11/faces-behind-magnets-part-19/
Laura’s job with Magnets USA includes photography, videography, design, writing and using social media to build connections.
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by Olivia Condon, Mount Royal University, Urbino Project 2014