Media internship to India so much better than ”life changing”

by | Jul 14, 2015 | First Person

By Curtis Mayfield M-H:

I was sitting in a sushi restaurant with my friend Jackie when I got the call telling me that I was going to India to work as intern for a newspaper. As I swallowed the rest of the delicious raw fish wrapped in rice and seaweed my thoughts already began to wander. The person on the other end of the phone was giving me the run down of things I needed to know and do before I left. My mind went blank as I pretended to listen. Who the hell would want to send me over to India?! Well, it turns out that UWS did and I am really grateful for that because the time spent as an intern (especially one overseas) is one of the greatest things anyone can experience.

Now I’ll try to avoid hitting all the cliché buzzwords that are associated with travel like “life-changing”, “amazing”, “culturally enriching”, “wanderlust” because even though these words do apply, they aren’t the complete make up of the time spent away.

New Delhi is where I was sent to work for a newspaper called the Indian Express. Their office is located in the industrial area of the city. This means that no tourists go there. This also means as a westerner you’ll stand out a little. This ALSO means that nobody really gives a crap that you’re there since their business or lifestyle doesn’t revolve around tourism. This is a good thing. Though the people at the newspaper gave lots of craps about me and were very kind and helpful. This internship gave me the chance to experience a different side of travel. While the spiritually enlightened tourists with blonde dreads roamed around the city wearing baggy pants looking for the closest hash dealer, I was working. This might sound like I’m complaining, but it’s far from it. Avoiding the unwashed hippies of the world is my main aim as a traveler/tourist so working with a great bunch of Indian journalists and sub-editors are what dreams are made of in this situation.

Mundane tasks like catching the train, proof reading a story or even ordering tea is transformed into an exciting adventure if it’s done overseas. Jumping into a packed train to travel 15 minutes to work is a Kodak moment. Reading over a very talented journalist’s work is educational. While ordering tea is just plain old delicious.

I would have to say that my time overseas was life changing (damn buzzword) but not for the regular reasons. Though I did try new foods and see some cool places, overall nothing boundary-pushing was attempted. I didn’t want to have the ordinary Facebook snap shot moments of me playing soccer with some local kids or an Instagram photo of whatever dish was put in front of me. Instead of having my attention focused on a screen I wanted to see what was in front of me. Most of the time what was in front of me was some sweet food and a really interesting person telling me something I didn’t already know.

If any of you lovely UWS students get the chance to apply for an internship overseas (particularly journalism students) then get on it. Sure the application process is a little boring but if you’re lucky enough to get to the interview stage you’ll see that the board that decides if they’re going to throw you on a plane is made up of friendly professionals who want to provide experiences to students. Just remember to pack sunscreen.


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