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Study abroad - seaside style

Comm offers opportunity for journalism experience in Brighton, England

The North Laines in Brighton, England, are an example of renovation of formerly low income districts. The area is now home to eclectic shops and markets while still offering affordable housing. UP file photo
The North Laines in Brighton, England, are an example of renovation of formerly low income districts. The area is now home to eclectic shops and markets while still offering affordable housing. UP file photo

The Lamar University study abroad will offer a program to Brighton, England, June 11-29. The six-hour course will include upper-level credit for travel writing and photojournalism. An open informational meeting will be held at noon, Oct. 11, in 127A Communication Building.

“I think it’s important to continually give students opportunities to go see the world, experience different places, and practice skill sets in those various environments and through those various classes,” Natalie Tindall, communication and media department chair, said.

What started out as a conversation with Andy Coughlan, director of student publication and journalism instructor, grew into a study abroad program aiming for students who are pursuing journalism, corporate communication or broadcast to get a chance to experience Brighton, Tindall said.

“The idea came when I was traveling to my hometown in England and writing my own travel and history pieces for my own publications,” Coughlan said.

The program is an opportunity for students to explore a different culture while creating content.

“Part of my philosophy of communication is about producing work,” Coughlan said. “When students graduate they will have a body of work that they can use to get jobs.”

Tindall said her motivation is to provide programs that are inclusive for all students.

“This program has the perfect timing, setting and set of classes to take,” she said. “These courses are intensive journalism writing, but are not limited to only communication students.

“This program is not only intended for students who are interested in learning about the intersection of travel, but also a different lifestyle, history, culture and food, which all converge in Brighton. If anyone is interested, we’ll find a way to make it work for them.”

Coughlan said students will produce content that will be published in the University Press and online on the UP website, as well as videos, live blogs and social media.

“It’s going to be a fun trip and we’re going to do a lot of cool stuff,” he said. “It will incorporate all forms of media, and everybody on the trip will be expected to do a bit of everything.”

Tindall said that Brighton is not just of interest to media students, but also to a history buff and a reader as well.

“I’m a huge Jane Austen fan, and Brighton is always mentioned in the regency work of Austen,” she said.

Coughlan is a Brighton native, so he knows a lot about the city.

“Brighton is a historic, multicultural, diverse and artistic town,” he said. “It’s a seaside and tourist resort, so it’s a very eclectic place. The idea is being able to take this wealth of information that I have that allows me to point to students where to find and uncover stories.”

Brighton also offers students an opportunity to really get to know the city, Tindall said.

“You can get around easier, and that’s one of the selling points for this trip,” she said. “It’s manageable in terms of both costs and location.”

Coughlan said Brighton contains a wide-range of material to create content about.

“My hope is that each student, or in groups, will be looking at different things,” he said. “You can write a variety of stories, make videos, and maybe podcasts even, on a whole variety of subjects.”

Tindall said the common language features between British and American English is a selling point.

“Students like studying abroad in places where they don’t have to worry about a language barrier,” she said. “This decreases a lot of the students and parental worries about studying abroad in a different place that’s unknown.”

Tindall said she pushes her department faculty to help students, especially first-generation students, to be able to afford study abroad trips through the appropriate mean of fundraisings and scholarships.

“We want our students to go out, be successful and have those opportunities,” she said. “We find ways to get people engaged and spirited enough, so they can help fundraise and be a passionate advocate for this study abroad program.”

Tindall said encouraging high impact practices is one of her biggest goals since she arrived at LU in spring 2016.

“Studying abroad is a high-impact practice that give students the exposure to do something related to their own professional development, help prepare them for the multicultural and global environment they’re going to enter into, and gain experience in competing with not just their own classmates, but with other people from other universities and countries as well,” she said.

The program presents students with an opportunity to not only build their portfolio, but also to explore and delve into a place where history is rooted into the culture and a city that offers a different perspective, Tindall said.

“Study abroad always makes people realize that where they plant their feet isn’t the center of the world,” she said. “It doesn’t change your life values, but it gives you a different set of lenses to look through.”

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Story by Vy Nguyen, UP staff writer

Category: News