Ohio Journalist

International programs offer students hands-on learning abroad

By Megan Krause

(May 27, 2010) — Students in the Scripps College of Communication will travel to Germany and Africa this summer to develop their communication skills in a foreign culture. The two new collaborative programs offer a mix of education and cultural immersion.

Documentary storytelling in Europe
Twenty students from the journalism, media arts and studies and visual communication programs will team up this summer to produce documentaries about German culture. The program is facilitated by the Ohio-Leipzig European Center, and students will live on the University of Leipzig campus. Each group will research, write and produce a five- to 10- minute documentary that will be posted to the program’s blog.

Professor Ruediger Steinmetz promotes new study abroad programs for communication students.

Sam Girton, the program’s co-founder and a School of Visual Communication faculty member, recruited first and second year undergraduates to encourage younger students to study abroad. Surrounding yourself with people who move more quickly than you pushes you to excel, Girton said. With that in mind, he sets high expectations for students, some of whom may only have partially developed skill sets in their area of study, and provides them with an international learning experience.

The idea was born in Asia when OU Media Arts and Studies faculty member Frederick Lewis met with Girton and his students during the Design in Asia program. After the trip, they decided to collaborate on a new project.

While abroad, Girton’s students will produce interactive content with audio, still photos and video that will resemble the type of content produced on the website Mediastorm.org, which was founded by the Missouri School of Journalism in 1994.

Uganda: media, diversity and governance
The Institute for International Journalism is also running a four-week pilot program this summer. The goal of the institute is to expose journalists to world issues and prepare them to work internationally.

The program allows students of any age to complete their tier three course requirement and earn 50 to 60 internship hours abroad. They also receive nine additional credit hours. Participants will stay at a luxurious hotel.

Students have the opportunity to work two days a week for not-for-profit organizations, international marketing and advertising firms or government organizations in Uganda. Students will tailor their internships to their personal goals and interests.

The collective group will also produce a 22-minute documentary to run on Voice of America. It will cover a social issue that is yet to be determined. Other journalism experience will come from online clips the students write over the course of the trip.

Both programs will run on a regular basis for the foreseeable future. The documentary program in Germany will be offered every other year. On the off years, Girton plans to continue taking students abroad for his Design in Asia program. The IIJ program will also continue annually, but the location within Africa will vary from year to year.

For more information about international programs visit the“IIJ homepage”:http://scrippsjschool.org/iij/.

For updates on the Leipzig program check their blog.

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