I am certain of two things after I graduate this summer. I want to go into journalism and I want to travel.
I’ve been thinking about journalism as a career since I started contributing to the student newspaper in my first year of university and since then I’ve tried to expand my skills by writing for as many different publications.
The urge to travel only hit me this summer when I returned from a semester abroad on a student exchange programme at the University of Tennessee. While I was over there I took a class in media writing. As an English Literature and American Studies student, I’d never studied journalism in an academic environment before and it was a great to be able to learn practical interviewing and reporting skills that I could apply directly to my writing. I also loved being in America and experiencing the college lifestyle firsthand. The whole experience taught me so much and really improved my confidence. After that, I knew I wanted to live abroad again for an extended period of time.
It didn’t take me long to start thinking of ways to combine my two ambitions. Over the past few months, I’ve been researching journalism related jobs in America, Australia and Europe (I’m still not certain on exactly where I want to travel to). Much like the UK, ‘dream jobs’ are few and far between and the added complication of work visas and possible language barriers makes things a little trickier.
Another way to get my travelling fix and find a route into journalism is by studying for a journalism-related Masters degree abroad. The student visa would allow me to live in the country for the duration of my degree programme and I’d have access new styles of teaching while gaining international experience to add to my CV.
With this in mind, I headed to the University of Manchester’s Postgraduate Study Fair last week where a number of international institutions and study abroad organisations were on hand to give advice on how to apply and finance a Master’s degree and which universities specialise in certain subject areas.
Among the people I spoke to were representatives from Study Options, an organisation that assists British students in applying for graduate and postgraduate study in Australia and New Zealand and the Fulbright Commission who provide links between British and American universities.
I received a lot of useful advice and some interesting university prospectuses but the main discovery I made was that whilst studying for a Master’s degree in Australia or America has real potential to improve my abilities as a journalist, it is also a huge undertaking; financially, emotionally and academically. It’s something I still need to give a lot of thought to and I’m enjoying the process of exploring all my options. Here are some of the questions I’ve been asking with a couple of the answers I picked up.
How much will it cost?
There is no set figure for the cost of studying a Masters degree abroad as tuition fees vary between universities and a lot depends on which country you choose to study in. However, taking your MA abroad is a more expensive option than staying in the UK. You will need to budget for international fees as well other expenses you wouldn’t encounter at home such as flights, a student visa and health insurance. Studying for a Master of Journalism at the University of Queensland costs $23,000 AUD (approximately £14,950), compared to the Newspaper Journalism MA at City University London which charges £9000. It’s also worth noting that currently, the UK does not give grants for international study and it is not possible to use a UK student loan to fund courses overseas.
However there are scholarships available through individual universities and funding bodies. For Australian scholarships, the Endeavour Awards lists open postgraduate funding options and the Fulbright Commission offers the Alistair Cooke Award in Journalism. You may also be able to find part-time work while studying but this will be subject to the limits of your visa and whether you feel you will still have enough time to dedicate to your studies.
What are the entry requirements?
As with postgraduate study at home, a 2:1 is the entry requirement for most Masters programmes abroad. Many universities will also look for evidence of work experience and letters of recommendation.
Will my degree be recognised when I come home?
Future Unlimited, the official Australian organisation for international students, states that most Australian qualifications are well recognised in the UK. The UK National Academic Recognition Information Centre holds more information about credit recognition at home and your prospective university’s international office will also be able to offer advice on the legitimacy of your degree in other countries.
How do the journalism courses differ?
One of the benefits of studying in another country is the focus on work experience placements and more interactive styles of teaching. Many degree programmes offer practical modules at international media organisations and contact hours are often higher than those at British universities.
Living abroad will also allow you to explore magazines, newspapers and news outlets you may never have heard of before. News reporting and styles of journalistic writing vary greatly in Australia and America and immersing yourself in a variety of media sources is sure to make you a better journalist.
Are you considering moving abroad to further your career as a journalist? Have you studied journalism in another country? Comment below or tweet us your view @wannabehacks
Image on the home page courtesy of Joachim Pietsch
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look