Volunteer Review: Ethna B., General Journalism Projects in Sri Lanka
People continually ask me why I chose to go to Sri Lanka. Of all the wonderful places I could have chosen, why there? And my answer is always the same, I have no idea! All I know is that I made the right decision in going, and with regard to my placement at The Island newspaper, well let’s just say I could not have made a better choice!
I’m not going to embellish things by saying that it was always plain sailing and effortlessly easy because it wasn’t, but then when is anything in life straightforward! With no prior experience as a journalist I was naturally slightly pensive and nervous about the whole venture, which was entirely unwarranted. From day one The Island’s team of friendly and competent journalists and editors accepted and treated me as one of their team.
I was thrown in the deep end of newspaper work however; it was the best possible way of learning, and after six months at the paper I was swimming with ease, competently completing each assignment and article which came my way. In my opinion on-the-job training is the best and only proper way of learning, especially for something like journalism which is so practical and hands on.
From interviewing CEO’s of banks, business schools, hotels and billionaires to covering hotel and spa openings, fashion shows, cultural events, food promotions, restaurant reviews, business and news articles as well as features, book reviews and social pieces, I literally got to experience and write for all the sections of the paper. I cannot emphasize enough the benefit of doing the Projects Abroad journalism placement.
The placement is not for the faint hearted however. To really get the most out of your time and the experience you have got to be determined and motivated, if you do that you will find it truly rewarding and have a brilliant time. For me personally it was the cultural and diverse aspects of the placement which provided me with all the inspiration I needed. I never found myself at a loss for material to write about whether for work or in my own time, I was continuously inspired, which as a journalist is essential.
I made good friends at the office and had great opportunities to get to know the Sri Lankan people first hand, both at home, at work and on outstation assignments, which were always a bit of adventure and fun. Living with a Sri Lankan family and taking the local bus to work every day really made my experience more authentic and genuine.
Without hesitation I would recommend the Projects Abroad journalism placement to anyone with a taste for adventure and an interest in journalism and news gathering, because you can take it from me Sri Lanka is saturated in stories at every turn and you will never be short of a story or by line. You will have an amazing experience.
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Program Advisors.