Ohio Journalist

International Overview

By Kelly Doran

(December 1, 2015) — Students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism have an abundance of international opportunities available to them, including study abroad trips and a foreign correspondence program.

Jacob Betzner, who majors in journalism and economics, went to Leipzig in the summer of 2012. He said his favorite part of the trip was interacting with the German students. He enjoyed comparing their lives in Germany with his in America and working with them on a professional level.

“I think experiencing any different type of culture is beneficial for me growing as a person. It also helped my writing,” Betzner said.

Kevin Grieves, a former assistant professor in the school of journalism, led five-week trips to Leipzig during the summers of 2012 and 2013 in connection with a partnership between the school of journalism and the University of Leipzig that began in the early 1990s.

“I think it’s a valuable experience for our students and from what I’ve heard back from students, they also found it to be very valuable,” Grieves said.

Grieves’ students worked with Leipzig students to produce a bilingual radio program, which allowed them to see how German students produce media.

Grieves said he is more proud of the process even more than he is of the final product. Students are given exposure to basic multimedia skills and learn how to collaborate with people from another culture.

The trip is affordable, Grieves said, because students stay in dorms in Leipzig, and because he is fluent in German, he made most of the arrangements himself rather than having to pay a third party to plan them.

The program was not offered in 2014 but is on schedule for 2015.

Yusuf Kalyango, associate professor of journalism, has been taking students to African countries in recent years so that students can learn about African media and what it means to be a journalist in a developing country.

The trips to Africa started three years ago and are held over winter break because the weather is better in Africa then.

Kalyango said that when he takes students abroad, he does not lecture but rather has guest lecturers talk to students. Twice a week he meets with students for a discussion. Students also do some volunteering and sightseeing.

Kalyango said he thinks it’s important for students to spend time abroad so they can learn about themselves, to appreciate what they have, to get out of their comfort zone and to learn about other cultures.

Carol Hector-Harris, a doctoral student in the journalism school, attended the meeting about the Ghana trip thinking it was a seminar about Ghana.

Hector-Harris has been doing research on her family tree since the 1970s. After learning about the Ghana program, she decided to go on the trip, hoping she could trace her family tree and find some of her relatives — which she did within 24 hours of arriving in Ghana.

“It was more than a dream come true,” Hector-Harris said.

Kalyango supervises the John R. Wilhelm Foreign Correspondence program, which has been sponsoring students since the 1970s to go abroad for approximately 90 days and report from the country of their choice. They must take the foreign correspondence course, now a capstone, to be eligible.

Kalyango said that students who participate in the program “have an edge on other students who do not have that kind of international exposure.”

The funding, provided by the Wilhelm scholarships and other donations, covers the student’s air ticket, accommodation for 90 days, transportation and health insurance.

Over the past four years, four to five students have gone to Central American countries, South American countries, African countries, Israel and Central Europe. Kalyango said he hopes to start sending six or seven students next year.

“If you’ve not traveled abroad, you really have no sense of how that really changes you and gives you a different kind of perspective. It’s good. I wish every student would get an opportunity to travel abroad and see the world and see what it’s all about,” Kalyango said.

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