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Graduate Profile

Gwyneth Dunsford
Bachelor of Arts, Comparative Literature (major), French (minor), 2009, University of Alberta Bachelor of Journalism, 2011, University of Kings College
Gwyneth Dunsford works in Tamale, Ghana as a human rights media trainer with Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), an organization with the goal to make everyone in the world aware of their human rights. She teaches professional and student journalists how to cover human rights stories by teaching workshops, building contacts and going out to do stories. She produces radio stories, writes and takes pictures to be posted online.
A number of factors led me towards studying and working abroad. My mother studied abroad in Rome when she was a U of A undergrad. She always talked about how it was the best decision of her undergraduate career. I enrolled at the University of Alberta because of the strength of its international programs. I studied my first year at Campus Saint-Jean and subsequently became fluent in French. Learning another language only furthered my desire to travel. I lived at the International House which only contributed to my desire to be a global citizen. Throughout the year, I befriended students from all over the world. I am lucky to count Australians, Norwegians and Chinese among my close friends. In my time at the U of A, I became involved with the Education Abroad Program. I studied at the University of Oslo for one year through an Education Abroad program. To say it was marvelous is an understatement. Classes at UiO were structured differently than the University of Alberta, with emphasis on long reading lists but few lectures and papers. This allowed me more spare time throughout the year to travel and to explore my interests. While living in Oslo, I was heavily involved with the Humanities faculty club, Uglebo, and with the student radio, Radio Nova. On weekends and reading weeks, I left to explore Europe, hopping flights to the UK, Germany, France, Malta and Italy. A misunderstanding in a job interview started my radio career. Oslos student radio station, Radio Nova, was recruiting international students to work on its English-language show. During the group interview, I was chatting in French with another candidate. The producers assumed I was a French-Canadian and selected me to bring diversity to the show! I worked on Snakker ikke Norsk for a year. I started out as a reporter, but eventually produced and hosted the hour-long, weekly show. The show was pretty irreverent, but it was a wonderful introduction to journalism. Every week, I got to explore a different topic and bring it to my audience. I tried to explain aspects of Norwegian culture to my fellow international students: relationship etiquette, fashion trends and how to naviagate the subway system. To this day, radio remains my favorite journalistic media.

I enrolled at the university of Alberta because of the strength of its international programs. I studied my first year at Campus Saint-Jean and subsequently became fluent in French.

10 Fall 2012 Career Connections

The summer after I finished coursework at the U of A, I worked abroad in Washington D.C.. While enrolled in a media and communications program, I worked as a marketing assistant at an entertainment agency, Keppler Speakers. I gained hands-on experience managing social media channels, editing video and copy writing online content. It was a crash course in communications and it allowed me to practically apply the writing skills I learned as an arts undergrad. The news cycle in Washington D.C. moves at an unrelenting pace. During the program, we toured TV news studios, took classes in video journalism and volunteered at non-profits. Living and working abroad puts my liberal arts education into practice. When Im interacting with Ghanaians, I remember concepts like cultural relativism that I learned in sociology. I get cues on structuring radio stories from stories I read in comparative literature. Living abroad satisfies my fascination with people, because every day I gain insight into the culture. I love documenting my day-to-day life in Ghana by taking pictures, writing and collecting audio. I feel like a 21st century anthropologist. On the flip side, Ghanaians are as curious about me as I about them. I often feel I am being studied and am subjected to unending questions: Where are you from? Whats your name? Can I take you as a friend? Its challenging to live in a culture where you dont belong. The city I live in is very homogenous and to the Ghanaians, I am an oddity. If I was to give advice to students interested in studying or working abroad, I would encourage them to apply for funding. So much funding for scholarships goes unused every year. Dont think youre ineligible by default. Research opportunities online to see which program suits you best. Look into opportunities early so you can plan your course load accordingly. I took all my major and minor requirements at the U of A and saved optional courses for my exchange.

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Fall 2012 Career Connections 11