Northeastern University challenges its students to explore more – themselves as well as their surroundings. So, when Emily Rudisill, a Journalism student at the university, got a project to cover a story for a construction site near some historic ruins. She was clueless, till she was struck with a creative way to squeeze out some inspiration from the site.
“I went to the construction site alone to see what information I could find. I found a hole in the fencing and decided to walk into the construction site,” she said. “It was the end of the day, but there were still a few workers left finishing up.”
It was a mildly dangerous move, as not only she went there alone, but this site also was some half-world away from the University. This trip to the Middle East – in Amman, Jordan – was organised as a part of the ‘Dialogue of Civilisations’ program. The program that year was bent on concentrating on Egypt, but the social and political scenario in Jordan and Turkey prompted them to change the location. The University’s journalism students, therefore, travelled to Amman, along with 13 Arabic students as well.
Students were seen preserving their experiences in their blogs and silently taking in this foreign culture, along with their professors Carlene Hempel, Denis Sullivan and Robert Sansone. “I’m sure there are journalists here, but I’m telling you, we didn’t bump into any,” said Hempel. “We didn’t find any competition here — it’s like we were the only show in town.”
Being in a foreign place took the students out of their comfort zones, they powered through, covering up stories on a variety of topics, such as street art, political scenes, disabled people’s interesting life stories, among others. Katie Kriz, one of the student-photographers, described her experience as something wholly different than what she faced before as a photographer and a reporter.
“Everyone is going to have a different shot,” Kriz said. “It’s the perfect place to learn photography because you’re not shooting things you’ve already seen.”