Medill sophomore talks school-hosted trip to Shanghai

Alexis White and Cassidy Jackson

ALEXIS WHITE: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Alexis White. Thanks for tuning in. Over spring break, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications arranged student trips to four international locations. In this podcast, we want to take you to Shanghai, where students travelled to study the international student experience.

VICKY WOODBURN: I, personally, have never been to Asia. I really wanted to get a feel of that culture, and also to be able to do so in a group setting (was) something that was very appealing to me, because I had a group to familiarize the area with and to kind of learn and grow in this experience with me.

ALEXIS WHITE: This is Medill sophomore Vicky Woodburn, who went on Medill’s Shanghai Global trip. Woodburn said each day of the trip typically consisted of a morning lecture and afternoon cultural event. The main focus was on the journey of international students. However, Woodburn counted the way she used her free time as the highlight of the trip.

VICKY WOODBURN: There were a few of us that would go to the park. We’d be over there by 6:30, 7:00 am every day. We would just spend like an hour or two kind of walking around. I would bring my camera, because it was beautiful. And just talking about life. Another person I was with, Ravi, he became friends with this group of people playing Jianzi, which was a game where you kick like a shuttlecock around. And I tried to do it. They told me I was bad, and I was basic. But it was still like, I really felt like I was able to connect with the culture in not so of an obviously touristic way.

ALEXIS WHITE: Through her trip, Woodburn was able to get a feel for the rhythm of life in Shanghai. But also while there, Woodburn was amazed by the courage international students showed.

VICKY WOODBURN: These students are choosing at middle school, whether or not they want to choose to study in another country. And that takes a lot of courage really, and a lot of independence. And that’s something I really admire. We’ve also talked a lot about not wanting to victimize international students, and I agree. I don’t want to take that victimization lens, because while they do face different forms of adversity that domestic students might not necessarily, they still are able to succeed in so many ways that domestic students cannot, because we just don’t have that, like intercultural competency, or that increase language ability that these international students have.

ALEXIS WHITE: Now that Woodburn is back, she said her experience has inspired her to increase her language ability.

VICKY WOODBURN: So I signed up for an introductory Russian class in Norris, and I started doing daily Swahili lessons on Duolingo. So basically, I’m fluent in both of those languages now. Kidding.

ALEXIS WHITE: For other Medill students who are considering taking a Global 301 class, Woodburn said to go ahead and enroll if they are interested and able.

VICKY WOODBURN: If you go with an open mind and you let your experience shape your impressions rather than your impressions shape your experience, you will have a much more rewarding trip and a much more professionally and personally rewarding time.

ALEXIS WHITE: Thanks for listening, and make sure to check out our other podcasts about Medill reporting trips to Cuba, England and Israel. I’m Alexis White. I’ll see you next time.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @alexisfwhite

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @cassidykjackson