Networking: The Realization of the Values in Studying Abroad
Have you ever wondered whether you suit certain career options or not? In my case, I have asked myself the questions like “Am I able to be a good journalist?” and “Is journalism really my passion?” for about a year, and I decided to explore the answers in my exchange year in the US. In this week, I finally mustered the courage to get in touch with several media workers who also had study abroad experiences. This was my first time conducting short interviews in English, and it helped me realize how networking can help me gain valuable advice and perspective. I would like to briefly share their experiences of media in different countries with a broader audience in this blog.
Puja Mahato is an Indian woman who is currently in a program called Community College Initiative Program (CCI). Due to the full scholarship provided by the program, she has had an opportunity to study Journalism at Scottsdale Community College. Although she has only been here for three months, she has already experienced the differences in media environments. She noted, “In India, we only covered political issues, but in America, we get the opportunities to cover different events like volunteering or community services…” Also, she has the opportunities to access a wider range of media and publish her stories online. For instance, her first published article in the US is about an educational event.
Muhammad Javed is another fellow in the CCI program. Compared with the US, he shared that the work environment in his home country, Pakistan, is more unstable and the wages are less. Further, the training he has received in the US so far is more organized than the training in Pakistan. As a result, he would like to share the training he received with more media workers when he goes back. He mentioned, “I should copy this [training] model to Pakistan. I’m doing internships in some places, so I’m learning how professional US media is, and I’m going to imitate that thing.”
The third interviewee is Natalia Ghilascu. She is from Moldova and was a Humphrey fellow from 2015 to 2016. Speaking on her past Humphrey experience, Natalia said the program “[brought] quite a large insight” to her work. She further explained that her leadership skills were strengthened and the experience also helped increase her confidence, which is very useful when she needs to meet with possible sponsors for fundraising.
After the interactions with media workers who have also studied abroad, I realized what the valuable opportunities I should grasp during my year-long stay in the USA might be. Although I was nervous about interviewing veteran reporters in English at first, I found that people are actually willing to share their experience as long as I have the courage to take the first step. Further, as a student for most of my life, I also have a chance to practice networking and use it to reach possible interviewees for future projects. In this globalized world, everyone seems to have a chance to connect with each other to some degree.