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Semester Review: Great Stories Waiting to be Told

By Marcus Mathiasen Bank, Danish School of Media and Journalism

If hands-on journalism is what you want then the IJI programme at AUT is a very good place to go on an exchange.
During the four months (July 2014 to November 2014) I studied at AUT, I wrote articles on subjects such as diabetes in the Cook Islands, and commercial use of the endangered wood, Kwila, which is very close to extinction.
I have done all of this in-between holidays at islands in the Pacific Ocean and round trips on the two islands of the beautiful country of New Zealand.

Marcus1

Courses

Creative Practice:
A course where you write articles for the school paper. You also edit two of the editions and have a week on the paper’s online section.
If you have done a lot of hands-on journalism before you won’t get a lot out of it, other than learning a little about New Zealand journalism, and how the system works there.
I took the course because I needed some expertise in written journalism, and the course fully lived up to that.

Asia Pacific Journalism:
A course where you write three big articles, and one major assignment at the end.
Professor David Robie is a legend in his field of Asia Pacific Journalism knowledge, and I learned so much from him.
You have the entire Asia Pacific region from China to the smallest island countries in the world to write about. And there are so many great stories just waiting to be told. You might even get to travel to some of the countries to do some fieldwork. Brilliant course.

Public Affairs Reporting:
A course from which you see journalism from a helicopter perspective. You analyse articles, and media outlets, to get a greater understanding about the forces of journalism. Dr Verica Rupar, the teacher, is the best teacher I have ever had.
It is an academic course, so you do a lot of written assignments.

Social:
We, my fellow students on the IJI, Lasse, Mads, Sonja and Lucas, were in a class of 25. All of the other students were New Zealanders, so you automatically got some local friends. A perfect setup.

Accommodation:
You can choose to stay at WSA, an apartment building close to AUT. But it’s like a lottery if you get a good or a bad room. I was lucky, but my fellow students were not and therefore had some troubles with roommates throughout the semester.
I recommend staying at a hostel for a few weeks, while you find your own place.

Costs:
New Zealand is expensive. Food is expensive, and so is all the travelling you of course want to do.

Lastly, some quick advice:
– AUT is a modern and cool university and everything works great.
– Auckland is culturally challenged, and it shows. So get out of the city when you can.
– The IJI programme is tough, but fun.
– The teachers are amazing, but the general level of journalism in New Zealand is not. It is getting better and better though.
– New Zealand is expensive, but worth all the money.

If you want to hear more about my experiences, feel free to contact me on mmbank@mail.dmjx.dk

Cheers,
Marcus

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