Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Guest Blogger: Whitney on J-Term in Ireland

Katie Kather

Katie and Whitney

Katie and Whitney

By now, I’m sure you realize I’m not Katie—I’m Whitney, but you can call me Whit. Katie asked me to guest blog about my experience in a J-Term class.

Some of you may be wondering what J-term stands for. The official name is January Term, but if you ask me,it stands for “Journalism Term”. Either way, J-Term is a mini-semester of three weeks over the winter break and a variety of classes to take. The one I chose was called “Covering Europe,” and I got to go to Ireland!

Ireland acceptance letter

Ireland acceptance letter

I was excited to be going on the trip, because through my very limited travel experiences abroad, I’d learned about myself a lot. In fact, my experience traveling abroad in China was one of the reasons I decided to pursue a career in journalism. The interaction between different cultures and religions is the crucial part in any story that we, as journalist, tell.

Traveling abroad is one way to begin to understand that story. Once you experience cultural differences firsthand, you can begin to understand where other people are coming from.

picture from the plane

picture from the plane

Our class also had a variety of guest speakers, including reporters Barry McCaffrey, Niall McCracken, and Ruth O’Reilly from The Detail, an investigative news website. We also met Colleen Dube, executive director at Fulbright Commission for Ireland, the Fulbright Scholar Program that provides scholarships for studying aboard.

It was a bit nerve-racking going to a different country to report. I have a hard enough time getting people to call me back in America! Luckily, the Irish are very friendly and willing to talk. While I was there, I had the opportunity to report on two different topics: Homelessness and a story about the Dublin Food Co-Op.

I know I mentioned a lot about class, but trust me I had fun. I went to Trinity College. I know what you’re thinking: “it’s a school.” Well, you would be wrong. Any Harry Potter fans reading? Okay, think Hogwarts. That is what this school is. It is walking into Hogwarts. Actually, a few of the Harry Potter movies may have been filmed at the school, though I haven’t figured out which ones.

The Long Room Trinity College

The Long Room Trinity College

Even if you don’t hit all the tourists’ spots, you’ll still see cool things just walking around. I’m still not sure how this man is doing this.

Floating Man, Grafton Street

Floating Man, Grafton Street

Overall, J-Term was a great experience, and though I may not remember every detail in a few months, I’ll remember how certain places made me feel and the impression that I was left with. For me, traveling abroad has always allowed me to undercover parts of myself that I wasn’t aware of. It wasn’t until my experiences abroad that I really became fearless in my writing but also passionate about journalism. I don’t mean this in the way Taylor Swift described her song.

And it helps if you make friends:

Finnie and me

Finnie and me

Guest Blogger: Whitney on J-Term in Ireland

By now, I’m sure you realize I’m not Katie—I’m Whitney, but you can call me Whit. Katie asked me to guest blog about my experience in a J-Term class. Some …

Journalism MA Katie Kather, kathryn.kather@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

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