Journalism lecturer Hannah McMahon visited Kazakhstan to share her knowledge and expertise with international young news reporters of the future.
Joining the Teesside University academic on the trip was BA (Hons) Journalism student Jake Graham. They spent two weeks teaching at a journalism summer school at Kazakh Ablai Khan University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Teesside University journalism lecturer Hannah, who draws from her own industry experience working as a BBC reporter and freelance journalist, said: “We worked with students to produce multimedia content for a website.
“It was an incredible experience, both from a teaching and a journalistic perspective, and I look forward to being involved in future opportunities to further develop the University’s international links with universities around the world.”
She added: “Jake was chosen for the trip as he displayed the essential skills to be able to help teach and during his degree he has also shown a real ability to be able to adapt to different environments.
“The students we worked with, who were studying at the university and a nearby college, ranged from teenagers to students aged in their mid-twenties so they had different abilities and levels of knowledge.
“The students we met are all from a very different cultural background to what we are used to and they don’t use social media, which is very integrated into our society, so it was interesting to hear their views. It was a great experience from a personal and professional point of view.”
Hannah added: “We became integrated into their society and met their families and friends. It was a really eye-opening experience from a cultural point of view and has also helped me to broaden my teaching experience.”
Jake, 21, from Sedgefield, who is about to start the final year of his degree this autumn, said: “To be chosen to go to Kazakhstan and represent Teesside University was exciting. It felt like a real achievement. It provided me with an opportunity to experience another nation’s educational system, along with cultural and political differences in journalism.
“I worked alongside Hannah to outline key skills in video journalism such as framing, interviewing and sound quality, skills which all not all students were aware of. Although some of the students had advanced knowledge, others were complete beginners.
“We were able to engage with both groups by focusing on content production with the more advanced students and looked at website management and audience building with students who needed more interaction.”
He added: “Being involved in teaching at Ablai Khan University meant I was working with students from a very similar age group to me, so during the trip I made some good friends who I have remained in contact with. As well as being involved in teaching, I was also able to try some fantastic food and visit some of Almaty’s tourist sites including Kok Tobe, President’s Park and museums.”
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