Today, Tuesday Dec. 27, marks the start of my adventure as a Teaching Assistant for Marquette University's backpack journalism program at St. Xavier's College in Ahmedabad, India. I flew from Minneapolis, Minn. to Milwaukee today and tomorrow the team will be departing to Chicago, Ill. where we will fly to Amsterdam, then New Delhi and a jump to Ahmedabad, located in the state of Gujarat. The program is two and a half weeks long and lasts from Dec. 28 to Jan. 14. 

The program began in 2008 with the partnership of both Marquette and St. Xavier's journalism programs which emphasize social justice, and educational equality. St. Xavier's makes a point to acknowledge these attributes through a mandatory  30 percent low caste student population, this includes the untouchables, formally known as Dalits, who are handicapped students and tribals, who live on their own land and travel to and from the university. 

Both universities are Jesuit based and have a strong belief in educational equality, and importance of fair and honest journalism. The workshop in Ahmedabad takes three other Marquette students and myself as TAs to lead two teams of four to five St. Xavier's journalism students in telling stories in multimedia format. My fellow Marquette students and myself are able to have a cross-cultural international experience while learning the culture and language from the St. Xavier students and faculty while we help them learn new technology that we are lucky enough to already know and are able to teach. 

Today, I met the whole team of TAs for the first time, we have Skyped before during our informational meeting. I think we have a lot in common and will complement each other very well. Chris likes sarcasm, I am gullible and Jim thinks it will be a great combination. Jennifer laughs at it all in a great way. 

The team is as follows:

Professors: Teaching Assistants:

I am excited to get a start tomorrow morning. We meet at Jonhston Hall tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. and take a bus down to Chicago O'Hare Airport and depart from all technology for 48 hours of travel at 4:36 p.m. Carole made sure to include the "six" in the "thirty-six," while she paid for parking at the airport to pick Jennifer and I up. The parking attendant said, "Have a great rest of the day," and Carole says, "Ok, yeah," while she continued with details of the trip. This sure has set the tone for a fun and comedy filled trip. I can't wait to land in India, meet the people there and have a global experience that enhances my knowledge of the journalism field, but more importantly I can't wait to have an influence on the students at St. Xavier's. I want to know that I helped the students with with my knowledge of the field that I have experienced thus far and even walk away with some friends and lifelong contacts. 
12/29/2011 01:01:53 am

This sounds like an awesome experience. Have fun expanding your journalism and I can't wait to read more!

Anmol Jain
1/3/2012 04:05:54 am

This sounds amazing! I'm a highschool student and I'd LOVE to participate.. is there any way that's possible? I'm a sophomore (10th grader) and have had some previous experience at Columbia University's High School Summer Programs, where I took a Journalism elective. I'd love to take this course to further my understanding of the medium! Do let me know!


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    Andrea is a recent graduate from the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University with a double major in journalism and Spanish.

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