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Journalism Students to Gain International Reporting Experience

For three University of Memphis journalism students this summer will be a life-changing experience. Broadcast students Kelsey Semien, Jessica Chavers and Joshua Bolden plan to attend Germany as part of the study abroad program at Johannes Guttenberg University in Mainz, Germany, May 11-27.

This will be the first time the students have been out of the country, but they look forward to the experience. Bolden, a senior who was born in Memphis but lives in Atoka, says the cultures of the two places he’s most familiar with are vastly different to him, so he is excited to see what Germany will be like.

“If those two cultures can live in such close proximity to one another I can only imagine what cultures are like in another country,” he said. “I am ready to have my eyes opened even more. I am ready for a culture shock.”

As part of this unique study-abroad opportunity, the students will earn three credits for the three-week course, “A Global Ethic for Journalism in the Digital Age,” which will be taught by Journalism Chair Dr. David Arant. The class will include German journalism students.

The cost of the trip is about $3,500, including tuition, housing and airfare. This amount does not include meals, local transportation and other personal expenses.

“Honestly, many times when we have students interested in participating in the program they are often discouraged by cost,” Arant said.

He said it’s unfortunate because it is an excellent opportunity to broaden their journalistic educations. While on the trip, students will visit various media and cultural sites in the region, including ZDF Television Network, one of the largest European broadcasters.

The three students are trying to offset the cost of the trip with a $1,000 scholarship through the Study Abroad Office and went to the Journalism Alumni Board to request assistance, as well.

“I am a bit nervous about going outside of the country, but I’m more excited than anything,” Semien, a junior, said. “It’s a great opportunity and while I’m in Europe I can develop my reporting skills.”

In addition to their in class work, Semien, Chavers and Bolden plan to record their experiences online through the website they created, #JournosAbroad at, and social media venues such as YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

They hope to encourage others to participate in the program in the future, honed their journalistic skills and create an interactive study abroad component for the department. It will also be an opportunity for students who decide to travel abroad to report their experiences as well.

Although this will be her first trip, Chavers wants to encourage others to think about attending.

“Just go for it. Let nothing stop you. This is an amazing opportunity that will benefit you personally and professionally in the long run,” she said.

For more information about the Journalism study abroad program, contact Dr. David Arant at 901-678-2401

journos abroad team pose in TV studio(From left) Jessica Chavers, Joshua Bolden and Kelsey Semien


Kelsey Semien, 

  • Produced, anchored and reported for the University of Memphis’ news cast Insight News
  • National Association of Black Journalists’ media director and executive assistant
  • Co-host of online news-magazine The Conversation, at
  • Freelance reporter for The Jackson Sun
  • Contributes to news website, Mid-South Briefs, at
  • Reporting for MicroMemphis,, a hyperlocal news hub produced by the University of Memphis Department of Journalism
Joshua Bolden, 
  • News anchor for WBBP Radio
  • On-air personality for WUMR and host of “Jazz Top Ten”
  • Former reporter and current contributor to The Daily Helmsman
  • Vice-president of U of M National Association of Black Journalists
  • Creator, producer and co-anchor for The Conversation
  • Founded website Mid-South Briefs

Jessica Chavers, 

  • Producer, reporter and anchor of Insight News
  • Member of the National Association of Black Journalists
  • Special correspondent to The Conversation
  • Founder of MentorMe, a mobile mentoring program for youth

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Last Updated: 3/11/13