Media students set to embark on international Fellowships
4 December 2012
While most students are hitting the beach over the summer university break, 11 intrepid Media and Communications students have their sights set on foreign shores as they embark on international journalism internships.
As recipients of international Fellowships secured by the Department of Media and Communications (MECO), the students will gain a taste of foreign reporting from the streets of our regional neighbours over the summer months.
In 2013 the Department's well-respected international internship program branches out for the first time into unfamiliar territory, with new placements established in India and Chile.
Two Fellows, Kira Spucys-Tahar and Ashleigh Green, will take up internships established by the Australia-India Council (AIC) at New Delhi's The Indian Express and The Mint newspapers respectively.
A further two students, Lucy Hughes and Anna Grummitt, will hold the mantle of Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) Fellows when they begin their posts in Santiago this January.
Legacy destinations frequented by previous media Fellows continue to be well represented in the latest round of internships, with eight other students departing for Bangkok, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul through the support of generous external funding bodies.
With over $86 400 in funding provided to support the cost of travel, insurance and living expenses for twelve students, 2013 marks the most successful year for the Department's popular undergraduate internship scheme.
Fourth Year media student, Kira Spucys-Tahar, is currently planning for her forthcoming New Delhi internship, which begins in late January.
As the first University of Sydney media student to be sent to the paper, she admitted to being "a little daunted" by the prospect of working in a new country, and the potential culture shocks she might face.
"Indian culture is really distinct and colourful," she said."I hope to adjust by really immersing myself in everything and remembering that it's all part of the experience!
"I have been preparing by reading everything I can get my hands on! I'm reading about Indian culture, history, customs and society in order to better understand where I'll be working."
Spucys-Tahar said she most looked forward to using her media skills in a new environment, learning from her Indian peers in a rapidly developing and bustling national capital.
"India's media industry, particularly the English-language newspapers, seems to be really concerned with politics and environmental changes, which are both areas I'm very interested in. I think my MECO studies, particularly units on globalisation and writing, have prepared me well for this adventure abroad."
The prestigious Fellowships are awarded to high-achieving Media and Communications students, and form part of their compulsory final-year internship. Each placement affords unique journalistic and diplomatic insight, with Fellows spending four weeks at a media organisation in their host country after a weeklong orientation at that nation's Australian consulate or embassy.
Since the first overseas media internships began at the University of Sydney in 2001 with the Myer Foundation and Australian Korea Foundation Fellowships, more than 100 aspiring journalists have forged a path in foreign correspondence through the scheme.
The recent expansion into India reflects the increasing significance of the booming region to Australia's foreign policy, said founder of the Fellowship program at the University of Sydney, Adjunct Professor Richard Broinowski.
"India is second only to China in economic growth, demand for Australian resources, and the growth of immigrant communities," he said.
"The internships in Asia are of themselves small but significant steps in building Asian-literacy. They inculcate knowledge among aspiring journalists where little previously existed. If these aspirationals go on to forge careers in Australian media, they endow the consumers of their insights with fresh knowledge."
Broinowski, who is Australia's former Ambassador to Vietnam, South Korea, Mexico, the Central American Republics and Cuba, likewise considered the internship expansion into Latin America a timely addition to the program.
"Internships in Latin America, a comparatively neglected part of the world for Australian public interest, are also overdue," he said. "This region is likely to become much more significant as Australia's intake of Latin immigrants increases."
Each Fellow will chronicle their foreign journalism experiences on the blog, Parallax: The Life of Media Interns Abroad.
All enquiries about internship opportunities within the Department of Media and Communications should be directed to Adriana Hernandez on +61 2 9351 6886.
The 2013 Fellowships are awarded to:
• Australia-India Council (AIC) Fellows: Kira Spucys-Tahar (The Indian Express, New Delhi) and Ashleigh Green (The Mint, New Delhi)
• Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) Fellows: Lucy Hughes and Anna Grummitt
• Australia-Thailand Institute (ATI) Fellows: Bernadette Morabito and Olivia Caisely (The Bangkok Post, Bangkok)
• Australia-Malaysia Institute (AMI) Fellows: Laura Murphy Oates and Nicola Duncan (The Star newspaper, Kuala Lumpur)
• Australia Korea Foundation Fellows (AKF): Lara Pearce and Astha Rajvanshi (The Korea Herald, Seoul) and Danielle Young (TBS, Seoul)
• Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF) Fellow: Myvawny Costelloe (Agence France-Presse, Tokyo)
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