Shariffa – I even interviewed the Mayor of Prague!
A Story by Shariffa, a Journalist
Country of Origin: Italy
Destination: Prague (Czech Republic)
(Story collected by Vuste Envis)
I had studied Media Production & International Journalism at the university and had always cultivated an interest in this field.
However, I found out that getting paid was very problematic, so I worked on a voluntary basis for a variety of media organisations including Channel M and X Factor. When I saw the traineeship being advertised by Vuste Envis, I applied straight away. When I arrived to Prague I was given a warm welcome by the Vuste Envis manager, Jan. All trainees were also given a 2 week- course of Czech language, which was very helpful.
The employees were very supportive and gave me a real idea of what I could really achieve through the project. They also gave me the confidence to work at 2 traineeships simultaneously. I worked at The Prague Post newspaper and Radio Free Europe, both as a journalist. I chose them because they combined the media I felt most akin to, and I wanted to explore both ways in order to understand them better. I interviewed the Mayor of Prague, at the time Pavel Bem, which was a fantastic achievement for me and I finally felt like I was progressing in the field I had always wanted to work in. At Radio Free Europe I was given introductions and also given my duties which comprised of formulating O-wires from existing news stories. These were published on the website and fed to the Eastern European offices for news updates.
Both of my placements presented a different set of challenges and I learned a great deal from working with professionals in my chosen field. Most of all, I learnt how to dedicate myself, commit and be trusted and a respected member of the team. I learnt the differences between the genres and the conventions which make them up. I made some great connections, some of whom I still keep in touch with. The people of Prague and Vuste Envis were very good to me, their dedication and good nature allowed me to explore my creative talents beyond the scope I imagined when I embarked upon the journey. I would say it is one of the most positive experiences I have had in my life, working in a different country, with people and surroundings that you are unfamiliar with, gives you a confidence which enables you to progress in your chosen field.
Today I work in the Religion & Ethics department of the BBC. I work within Production Management, which is not something I expected, but after Prague I learned that the best things in life are the unexpected ones.