Tag Archives: vacation

It’s an ‘Education Vacation’

I’m often shocked by how quickly word travels among my family and my community.

After the semester was over and I had finished my exams, I went back to Milwaukee to spend two weeks at home. I saw family members, friends from high school and my co-workers. I was usually greeted with “Hi Madeline! I hear you’re going to Alaska this summer.”

Yes, I am. Let me guess, my mother and/or father told you?

Ever since I discovered Creighton’s Journalism department had a Backpack Journalism program, I wanted to be a part of one of the experiences. I had heard countless good things, basically that it was beyond cool.

I was also amazed by the results of the the trip. In the summer of 2012, the Backpack group traveled to Uganda and produced a documentary entitled Wer Uganda, which highlights the role of music in the Ugandan culture. I went to the campus screening of it and was absolutely amazed. To think that a group of college students, with the help of a few professors, could produce a short film that was screened at the Omaha Film Festival was, again, beyond cool.

These trips, up to this point, were a way to travel outside of the States, something which I’ve never done. I had never arranged a semester or summer to study abroad, so this was a perfect opportunity to do so. Of course, the year I commit to going, the group is going to Alaska. Although it is one of the States, I have heard we won’t feel like we’re in America, so I guess I can justify it.

I am reminded every day as we prepare to go on this trip that this is not a vacation. We’re going to Alaska to work, to interview and shoot video for 12-14 hours on a daily basis. If I’m traveling to any place outside of the Midwest, I do like to think of it as a vacation. But I am completely prepared to do more than relax and sit on the beach.

Although the sun will always be out (it never gets dark in Alaska this time of year), sitting on the beach like this one on Captiva Island, FL is not part of the plan.
Although the sun will always be out (it never gets dark in Alaska this time of year), sitting on the beach like this one on Captiva Island, FL is not part of the plan.

I’d like to think of this trip as more than a vacation.   It’s an experience beyond what a common tourist would come across. On this trip, I have the opportunity to get to know the Yup’ik people. I get to listen to them and I get to share their story.  Establishing those relationships is something about which I’m totally excited.

I’m also excited to experience real journalism. Sure, I write stories weekly for our student newspaper the Creightonian, but this is the real deal. This is what I hope to do one day, every day: go out, find a story, interview people, get a couple photos/shoot some video, and come back with a worthy story. I’m excited to strengthen my writing and interviewing skills as well as learn as much as I can about a professional camera and shooting video, neither of which I have experienced.

All in all, I hope to use much of my brain on this “vacation,” which is a hope I probably don’t share with many people thinking “vacation.”