“Don’t half-arse anything. If you’re going to do something, use your full arse.”
I’ve no idea who said this, but girl, they're 100 per cent spot on. If you’re going to do a Master of Arts, take advantage of every opportunity that’s afforded to you.
I travelled to India as a media intern for the Australia-India Council to report for SBS. Never in a million years would I have been able to facilitate this experience by myself.
I've collaborated with foreign journalists and am now published (you can read my article on SBS Life’s website), all before I graduate.
Feel the fear and do it anyway, I say. You won't regret it.
You might go to Switzerland, the USA or China. But wherever you go, you’ll learn. And isn’t that the aim of the game? Here’s what I picked up after two weeks in India:
Follow the sound of the drums
On the last day in India, the team were working on final edits of our stories when we heard the faint sound of drums approaching.
We immediately dropped everything we were doing, ran out of the hotel and literally chased the sound of the drums down Mahatma Gandhi Road in Bangalore to a nearby hotel where a bridal party was celebrating.
The colours, the movement, the sense of family and community, the joyous energy and the way the drums resonated throughout my entire body is a feeling I’ll always carry with me.
I remember looking at the team I’d travelled with and tearing up.
For me, that moment was completely life-affirming.
Being a good journalist isn’t always about planning.
Sometimes you just have to run towards the drums.
Newsflash - we’re all human.
No matter where I’ve travelled in the world I’ve always been acutely aware that I am, in fact, a foreigner once I leave Australia.
It’s important to be respectful of the fact that you may look and sound different, but find ways to connect with the people around you that will put them at ease.
Never underestimate the power of a smile.
If someone is staring at you out of curiosity or even fear, say hello. Start a conversation.
Everyone you meet is someone’s daughter or son with their own hopes, dreams and desires.
Living in the West can sometimes desensitise us to the bigger picture.
India was a reminder that the world is much bigger than the little pocket of safety we create for ourselves at home and that being a good journalist is all about human connection.
The Foreign Correspondent Study Tour is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia-India Council and works in partnership with SBS Life. Students file news stories with real deadlines on the ground and undertake industry visits, journalism training and meetings with experts in the field.
You can experience it too.
Apply for the next round of tours by Sunday 3 June 2018.