We bid a fond farewell to the class of 2012/13 – our three CBA member broadcast journalists who spent the past year studying masters in the UK.

They are all keen to apply their new skills back at their stations in their home countries. Here they reflect on their experiences of the past 12 months.

Applications are now open for CBA-Chevening study for the 2014/15 academic year, find out more.

Rosemary Gaisie

News editor, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation

In October 2012, my dream to pursue a master’s education in the UK became a reality. I arrived in Norwich to pursue the MA in Media and International Development at the University of East Anglia.

One of my course highlights was working in a group with students from five different countries on a BBC project for a new audiovisual “archive for the future” about life in Norfolk. Skills I learned  included project planning and execution, archive research, intercultural communication, crisis and time management. I enjoyed the opportunity to research and make a short film under the tutelage of Postcode Films [a filmmakers’ and visual anthropologists’ collective] as part of UEA 50th anniversary celebrations.

Lectures on Public Service Broadcasting also refined my knowledge about its true role and value, and why it shouldn’t collapse or underperform even in the face of commercial media competition. This is even more critical in Africa which is still developing democratic culture. When I resume work at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, I would like to help improve the presentation of development stories to attract both local and international viewership. My visit to the BBC’s old and new broadcasting houses and participation in Commonwealth Day at the time of the Commonwealth Charter’s launch are some of my fondest memories of my year.

Life for a first-time international student in the UK was both exciting and challenging. With the spirit of endurance and great determination, I count it all joy that the mission has been accomplished. I feel proud to be a beneficiary of CBA-Chevening bursary.

Osman Gilani

General manager of programming, Masala TV (Hum Network, Pakistan)

As a CBA-Chevening Scholar I got an opportunity to study and live in London for a year. I was enrolled in the master’s programme at City University. With 98 international students from 32 different countries taking part in the 2012/13 international journalism programme, it was a boot camp for journos. I must say I was glad to be part of that group.

My summer experience in London began as another journey to a new place and meeting many unfamiliar faces, and ended with valuable work experience and friends that I will have forever.

Looking back, it is almost hard to remember, as there are so many experiences. I, like many others, had a list of places to see and things to accomplish in the UK. However, what I quickly unravelled is that it is those experiences in between that will stick with me as I continue to follow my journalism dreams.

During the week, we functioned as most Londoners do: taking the tube to work every day, picking up our favourite daily paper, and on a good day, heating up a ready meal at approximately 2100 (yes, we are now fully adjusted to military time).

We even had our taste of the “posh lifestyle,” having seen several theatrical extravaganzas such as Les Miserables and the Romeo and Juliet ballet at the Royal Opera House, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe Theatre and my favourite, Avenue Q.

My friends and I travelled outside London to get a true taste of England’s countryside, and on top of that, I ventured to Ireland, France and Holland.

So as I packed up all of my belongings and said goodbye to my co-workers, my British friends and my flat in London, I was able to take back with me the best souvenir of all: memories.

Allia McDonald
Supervising producer, TV Jamaica

When I boarded my flight back to Jamaica, I realised how much I was going to miss London. I had spent the last 11 months reading for a Masters Degree in Media Management at the University of Westminster.

It hit home very early that it was not going to be an easy year – fresh from the production department of TV Jamaica to Uni Westminster; I had to adjust quickly to student life. The media management cohort was as multicultural as the city of London, in my small class I was among students from China, Italy, Germany, Nigeria, Bahamas and Kurdistan.

My first semester culminated in a traditional British Christmas with a full turkey and a pudding – complete with coins. I welcomed in the new year by seeing the fireworks on the Thames, almost lost in the midst of 200,000 revellers. In January the snow soon set in. I’ll never forget the first time I looked out of my window and saw a layer of white flakes on my windowsill and on the tree tops in the Regent’s Park.

It was time to focus on my dissertation topic in the second half of the year. The hours I spent in the library multiplied and there were certainly some all-nighters.

Some of my most memorable experiences were the times spent exploring cultural sites. For years I had read about Stonehenge and to finally see the actual site was quite remarkable. I was mesmerised by the history and beauty of Cambridge and the quaintness of Bath.

Thanks to my year in London, I have established friendships in all five continents. I have enhanced my skills as a media professional and I have a better understanding of today’s media trends and challenges. I am certain that I will be able to put this experience to practical use at Television Jamaica.

See also:

This year’s CBA-Chevening bursars announced (2013/14)
Broadcasters from Jamaica and Ghana observe Commonwealth Day