Tag Archives: chester

Day 2 of Uni Modules: Part 1

I’m writing this as a note on my iPhone as I walk back from class, because I simply can’t wait to talk about the “Magazine Production and Online Journalism” module. The class size is tiny- about 12 students in all, and the Mac lab probably seats 20 or more. Some might not have made it yet, as yesterday was a huge party night and the class is held at 9 am, thirty minutes from campus. Our main project for this ‘semester’ (British courses run year-long and therefore don’t have the concept of semesters built in) is to write, edit and create an entire online newspaper. Sadly, the second assignment -and reason why I was so  very interested in the class- does not begin until January. Sadly, I will be home by then. That project entails making a 16 page magazine entirely by yourself on any content/topic you like. I still plan to ask for information on how they’re going to manage the project, as I seriously wanted to do that and add it to my portfolio. We’ll be using Adobe In Design in Feature Writing, which is great because I am familiar with the program. In “MPOJ,” we will use WordPress for our online newspapers (See my URL. Perfect.) and apparently, Adobe In Design and Issu for the magazine. I worked with Issu when I did the online winners booklet for the Young Southern Student Writers Convention this April, but I didn’t use In Design in conjunction with that. I bet the outcome is a really valuable and useful product. Honestly, I am pretty upset I’ll be missing this assignment, as I have so many creative ideas when it comes to magazine journalism. Everything from writing feature stories, news bits and columns, to creating an ascetically stimulating minimalist layout, choosing fonts, editing images, selecting content, and sculpting a distinct persona for the magazine deeply interests me, and I wish I had the opportunity to do this under the guidance of experienced professionals. The group newspaper project will be a good way to make friends with my classmates though, so I’m looking forward to it as well. Because my final assessment for the semester has to be a 2,000 word paper or equivalent project, the module tutor Natalie said I could just be more involved in the process, perhaps taking on more writing or editing. I’m happy she suggested that, because I really want to put a lot of work into the online newspaper project since I won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of taking the full year course.

As in the “feature writing” module, there are two tutors/lecturers for “MPOJ.” Natalie, the assistant tutor there today, was so helpful, approachable and gave an interesting lecture. She even sat down with me for a little chat on how I was adjusting and what I’m studying here. I spoke with her about some of the reporting and projects I did at The Pulse last spring, and she gave me some positive feedback on what to include in an online portfolio. Despite what many people like to say, journalism isn’t a fading profession. The lecture focused on the positive aspects of pursuing a career in journalism, and she gave us some useful links to places where jobs can be found in the UK. I think this will be expanded upon in my “Working in the Media” module tomorrow morning, so I’ll be sure to write a response to that lecture later.

For the ‘seminar’ portion of the three hour class, we created the basic framing of a web page to provide a sort of platform to market ourselves on. I’d honestly not given much thought to having an online CV (typically called resumes in the US. CVs are much longer), but Natalie explained that as a true freelance journalist, which we all will be trained as post graduation, having a strong online presence allows people to come to you when they want to buy or commission a piece. Having all my stories online through The Pulse is really useful in establishing my name. Even though it’s a relatively small paper in the scope of international journalism, it was a great way for me to get started and shows I can write interesting, informative stories for a city I am not native to. True, I am from a town two hours away, but that is far enough away to make me ‘alien’ to the area. I learned a lot about Chattanooga in my time at The Pulse, and the adaptability skills I developed there will be valuable when I eventually move to the UK to work as a journalist.

Everything is relative. I tell myself this so much it has basically become my mantra. If better opportunities present themselves, naturally I will take advantage of those. However, I’ve been pretty impressed with Chester’s journalism department and the classes they offer, and I’ve only been to two of my four classes. Things could change, but at this point I wholly picture myself returning to Chester or the UK for a masters in journalism.

Like yesterday, this class helps affirm I’m in the proper career and location that will allow me to be the person I want to be for the rest of my life.

xxx,

j

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42 Days Away/ Accommodation Application Completed!

41 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes and some odd seconds till I leave for my new home! There have been a few new bits of information in regards to the process that I thought to share with you all, as I have actually had a great experience dealing with the staff in various departments in Chester. Thankfully, nearly all the departments I’ve worked with during my time at UTC were efficient and helpful, but I did have a few experiences where offices recorded things incorrectly and nearly messed up my ability to graduate early. Fingers crossed that everything stays smooth with Chester!

Today, I was finally able to apply for housing (or accommodation as they call it) after a few emails back and forth with the IT Help Desk and my International Welfare officer. I had not been assigned a student ID or password, and could not access their equivalent to UTC’s Mocs Net. This was a bit stressful, because many of the things I need to do are linked to this account and university email. Thankfully, they were able to assign the information to me and I officially registered before the 10 August deadline. Unlike UTC, I did not apply to live in a specific dorm or with other specific people (not that it matters, as I do not know anyone!). Rather, I ranked my preferences to live in a specific type of housing. My top choice was naturally a full board single room with en-suite facilities (aka my own toilet/sink/shower) with similar places following. My last choice was a studio flat, because while that would be awesome if I was out of school, I want something close to the heart of campus where I can meet a lot of new people.

Not knowing exactly which house/hall I’ll be in is a bit stressful, but I feel confident I’ll end up where I need to be. Again, I was just so impressed by how quickly and efficiently my questions were answered. Another thing I like about the Chester process is that they have an iPhone app which allows you to do everything from apply for accommodation to check your email and register for classes. This is a great user friendly app and allows students to check things on the go without having to look at the teeny tiny font of a web page on Safari mobile.

I haven’t even begun to think about considering what I might pack for the trip. However, I am collecting items of clothing I think might be useful and attempting to sell all those that will not be useful online. So far, I’ve only made about $40. I’m taking things to a consignment shop soon, so we’ll see how that goes! More posts on packing will follow. I do have one question for any fellow world travelers out there:
Do you suggest using a hiking backpack as my airplane carry on? I plan to take a LOT of trips (as I don’t have class every day of the week as I did in the US), so I am wondering if taking a backpack would be smarter. I can also fit a LOT of clothes/food/provisions/blankets/etc in one of those backpacks, which is why I thought it might be a good idea. On the plane there, it would be mostly empty, and I could fill it with anything I want to bring back when I leave rather than having to make room in my suitcase.

Getting excited for the upcoming junkets!

Xx,

J

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STATE OF THE J-UNION: 100 DAYS

Well, it’s actually 102, but I’m rounding down. For the sake of a good title, I’ll take artistic license and just fudge the dates a bit. Here’s a little update on how plans and things are going in preparation to study at Chester in the fall. 

I’ve “met” a few American students studying abroad there next semester and they all seem rather interesting. They’re into a lot of British fandom things like I am, so I am sure we’ll get along well and have things in common! Also found a couple fellow bloggers who are actual British students at Chester, and they seem great as well. Very friendly and happy to answer all my questions. It’s reassuring to know I’m going to a place where I’ll get along with the other students. Apparently, they’re aren’t too many international kids studying there in the fall, which was great news for me. Not that I don’t want to befriend Americans or students from other equally unique cultures, but my goal in studying in Chester is to intermingle myself with British students and fully experience what university life is like for them. Many of my friends from here study abroad and come back with great friends from across the country, and that is wonderful. I certainly made some wonderful friends when I studied in London summer 2012, but I also made sure to meet other Brits from the church I attended and from colleges down the road from us. It absolutely made my experience. A lot of kids in our program were there to take in the nightlife and decreased drinking age, which is certainly fine and they had a fabulous time. However, that kind of thing isn’t enough for me. You don’t experience a country by attending it’s nightclubs, bars, restaurants, or shops. Yes, that is certainly part of knowing the culture, and I did my fair share of the above last summer. (Especially shopping. It was ridiculous…)

But if you’re going to say “I’ve been to Edinburgh,” “I lived in England,” or “I traveled to Paris/Berlin/Prague/etc.” it’s in your interest to do things locals would do. Go for a run in their parks. Hike their trails. Hike their mountains and try to talk to the old Scottish local men with accents thick like melting gold who are somehow at the top and less out of breath than you are. Attend the local churches, even if it’s not your religion or faith. Visit their homes when they invite you- which they will, because they’re that kind of gracious and welcoming people, and they’ll be surprised by how polite and funny Americans are. Get lost in the deep recesses of pedestrian streets on your way to visit something and be caught up in stress until you ask for directions and realize you’re a mere skip around a left turn away. Ask to take pictures with all the gingers you see. Laugh when you realize they’re Dutch and don’t understand you at all. When you travel to another city, walk everywhere possible. Don’t lose out on even a second of the experience by taking a cab. That being said, take the Metro when you can’t possibly walk somewhere in time. Try not to be sick when you feel rotten and are packed on like literal sardines. Smile at people on the bus. Talk to them. Give up your seat to a mother with two children. Smile when she says, “Cheers!” as a thank-you. Wonder at the marvels of their grocery stores. Freak out when they seal your purse with a zip-tie in a plastic bag at the Barcelona supermarket. Oggle at the open air markets with stalls selling fish that were only just thrown out of the sea and still wiggling their eyeballs in a frenzy. Order a huge serving of chicken curry from an Indian street food vendor and enjoy the scintillating sun warming you as the spices do simultaneously as you walk around Camden market, eyeing all the fabrics, metals, and people clinking and weaving throughout the pathways. Ask locals for their advice on where to go, what to see, who to ask for. Bring the color-coded guidebook you’ve read and dog-eared and underlined and poured over. Don’t use it once. 

That is my Europe, so far. I feel reassured that I am doing the right thing and pursuing an experience that will alter my life forever. Who I meet and where I go is yet unknown, but it will be great. In all seriousness, even if I just get to know myself on a new level and gain skills to make me a better truth-teller/writer/journalist/traveler/Earthling, that will be a successful experience. Hopefully, a few good friends and a career path will present themselves, but all in time. And I couldn’t be more excited that the time is quickly approaching! 

More posts in the future about packing, plans, and classes. 

 

xx, 

 

J

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Brighton Beach- Summer 2013

Brighton Beach- Summer 2013

I can’t wait to make it back! 122 days till I land in Chester 🙂

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