Aggies abroad: JOMC in Costa Rica

Jasmine Lewter, Contributor

For the first time in N.C. A&T history, the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (JOMC) has developed a faculty-led study abroad opportunity.

The trip to Costa Rica will take place from May 12-22, 2020.

A maximum of 12 students are permitted to attend, enroll in the International Communications course. The trip is under the supervision of Dr. Yahya Kamalipour and Chairwoman and  Professor Gail Wiggins. 

“It has taken several months and many meetings to get to this point,” Kamalipour said.  

The JOMC department, in partnership with Education First (EF) Tours, has worked to ensure the trip is affordable for interested students. 

The total cost of the trip ranges from $3,035-$3,395 per student. This price includes round trip airfare, accommodations, on-tour transportation, meals and housing. 

Students do have the option of paying for the trip in monthly installments of $327-$367 per month for nine months. Ehe Office of International Affairs is offering a $500 grant, along with $200 discount from EF Tours, if students secure their spot by Oct. 15. 

Kamalipour himself has travelled to 67 countries and understands the excitement and importance of travelling abroad. 

“[Travelling] is one of the best things one can do in a lifetime,” Kamalipour said. “It broadens your perspective, and, in the process, you learn about other cultures, meet new people, and experience new customs, new food [and] new environments. You can’t put a dollar amount on that.”

Cultural exposure is one of the benefits of the trip, according to Kamalipour and Wiggins. Other advantages are also included: developing an appreciation for global diversity, learning a new language, enhancing skills in journalism and conducting interviews, meeting people who are involved with broadcasting, media and radio in Costa Rica and gaining the ability to navigate unfamiliar cultures and situations. 

The International Communications course will be taught during the spring 2020 semester on campus before the trip to ensure students are more educated about the country. 

While in Costa Rica, students will be required to keep a journal and record their daily experiences and observations. This will allow students to hone their writing and journalism skills, as well as have a written record of their trip.

After returning from the trip, the students will be expected to write a 10-12 page paper or create a detailed PowerPoint presentation highlighting their experiences and present it to current students. 

In these projects, the students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of people, cultures, the significance of mass communication in a global society and explain the relationships between media, commerce and government.

The department is excited that students have been given the chance to explore what Costa Rica has to offer while gaining valuable experience in their field. 

“Every country has its own characteristics. There is so much to learn,” Kamalipour said.