SMU-in-London

48 communication students from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts are studying international media, advertising, British cinema and nonprofit communications.

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Comparing cultures

whitney2.jpg An update from Whitney P, a senior CCPA major with a Spanish and music minor who interned this summer with One World Broadcasting Trust, which aims to increase understanding between developing and developed countries through the effective use of media:

I was placed at One World Broadcasting Trust (OWBT) because of my interest in media. My first day of work was very interesting. The work culture in London is very different than what I am used to in the States. Everyone was extremely quiet, I mean you could hear a pen drop! It was the strangest thing I have ever experienced in a work setting. Everyone was so focused and passionate about their work, it was an amazing thing to see because some of the places I have worked in Texas lack the passion that I saw in this organization.

In my first weeks at my internship I worked on a lot of follow-up for the annual OWBT media awards ceremony. The awards recognize the unique role of journalists and filmmakers in bringing together different societies, and communicating the depth of social, political and cultural experiences across the globe. So it was interesting to learn about the different awards and topics that various journalists covered and how they were making a difference by shedding light on these situations, which usually received little or no media coverage.

Botswana vs. the U.S.
Today I met one of the volunteers named Keletso, and she was originally from Botswana. I had an amazing conversation with her about the culture differences in Africa, Europe and the U.S. We mainly discussed our personal experiences as African-American women in our respective cultures.

I was explaining to her how different my experiences were in the United States as compared with London. Since London is such a melting pot I feel like race is not an issue whatsoever, and I did not feel out of place anywhere I went because of my race. But, in the U.S., race is of course a much larger issue, and racism, despite what people might think, still occurs every day. It is usually not overt, but it is there, and I shared with her some of my experiences on job interviews, in school and social settings.

She shared with me her experience of living in Botswana and not having the same features as native Botswanians and some of the reactions she received. She also told me stories of the discrimination she experienced when attending school in London from other African and African-American women. We bonded through our common experiences and became great friends that day. She even invited me to come visit her when she went back home, so I’m taking a trip to Africa! I don’t know when, but I am definitely going to take her up on that offer!

New ways to work
After about two weeks of working at One World Broadcasting Trust, I decided to take some initiative after overhearing a conversation my boss was having with a colleague regarding the American fundraising model. We were learning about this in Professor Latour’s class, and she gave us a document that contained all of the information my organization needed. So I customized the document to fit some of the organization’s needs, and I also made suggestions on a few things I thought OWBT could use to improve sother programs. The next day my boss was really happy with the fundraising document and the suggestions I gave her she asked me to do.

- Whitney P

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