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  • Zoe

Personal Reflection

Why did you choose this degree and this university?

What attracted you to the degree and specialty?

What influences led you to this point (e.g. family, friends, media?)

What do you think you want to learn and achieve during your university life?

The Bachelor of Communications and Media (Journalism) at the University of Canberra is a worldly relevant and diverse degree that grants extensive career opportunities as a journalism professional. Personal research executed before commencing studies at the University of Canberra showed clear commitment to both students and teachers to provide unsurpassed education and experience.

In the later dates of the nineteenth century foreign correspondents became a recognisable profession due to the increased demand for US and European media outlets to cover overseas military and civilian developments (Karadjov, 2008). International relations haven’t always fascinated me, however after living in Jakarta, Indonesia for almost three years whilst my father was on a posting with DFAT, an attraction ignited. Throughout high school my ability to write and communicate with people grew quickly and became my best academic asset. The combination of personal experience, individual ability and professional interest in foreign correspondence that led to the enrolment of a journalism degree.

With an increased interest in international affairs, foreign correspondent and international relation professionals motivated me. Reporters such as current US foreign correspondent for Nine Network Australia, Amelia Adams, long term foreign correspondent for National Public Radio and distinguished author, Anne Garrels and Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist and TV presenter, Sally Sara all influenced me to peruse a career as a journalist. In addition, my father, Counsellor and Security Officer covering PNG and Federated States of Micronesia for The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has inspired me to take the paths that have led me to where I am today and continue to push me to reach my professional goals.

Throughout the continuation of the Bachelor of Communication and Media, personal achievements and goals are continuously changing. Finishing the degree and transitioning into my desired field, international relations or foreign correspondence journalism, is the overall objective. Nevertheless, gaining experience, generating professional connections, attaining distinguished marks and creating an impressive professional portfolio are foundation goals to work towards throughout my studies.

What industry, discipline, and/or type of career attracts you?

What skills or attributes do you possess which you think are well suited to the career that interests you?

Foreign correspondents have always been needed to inform us about current international affairs. Predating the digital era foreign correspondents were important sources to relay information regarding current wars, international politics, international economics and entertainment (Pedersen & Cronqvist, 2019). Foreign correspondence is a vital sector within the journalism field and does not come without its challenges. To this day, foreign correspondents travel to dangerous countries to obtain critical information to share with the public despite the possibility of imprisonment, torture and even death (Craig, 2016). The determination to uncover the truth despite the danger that may lay ahead, meet all kinds of people and see the world are all motivations to a career in foreign correspondence journalism or foreign affairs.

Christina Lamb, British foreign correspondent shared in an interview with British Council that curiosity, determination and the ability to listen are major skills and qualities to possess as a foreign correspondent (Lamb,2019). My curiosity for travelling and foreign countries bloomed after my time living in Jakarta, Indonesia and travelling throughout Southeast Asia. This curiosity remains stronger than ever. Determination is something that I do not lack. The completion of Australian Army training combined with numerous sporting and schooling achievements throughout primary and high school years emphasises my determination and mental resilience. During studies at the University of Newcastle I achieved respectable marks in previous courses which incorporated many interviewing and investigative journalism components. This in addition to being a daughter, sister to two younger siblings and friend to many, I have had a plethora of practise listening to others and display an obvious strength in the area. The amalgamation of these attributes combined with my ability to effectively communicate through various means reiterates that a career in foreign affairs or foreign correspondents is not only personally desired but suited.

What challenges do you think lie ahead?

What method/s could you use to face those challenges?

Theodore Roosevelt once said, nothing worth having comes easy (Roosevelt, 1910). Throughout my studies and professional journey, I undoubtably will encounter challenges. Stress and anxiety surrounding university education is indisputable. The pressure to deliver assessments on time whilst juggling jobs and other personal commitments can become overwhelming and makes time management a challenge for the best of us. Time management will continue into my journalism career among other challenges. Despite the rise in female journalists, the profession is still male dominated and structural sexism is still prevalent within the industry (Doden, Gerlach & Steinberg, 2020). Traveling internationally accumulates risk and as a foreign correspondent or international relations officer the likelihood of travelling to war torn countries is expected. Challenges that may arise in such travels are not only physical but psychological.

In order to effectively manage time, it is important to methodise smart goal setting, prioritise, plan ahead and organise accordingly (Rampton,2018). These techniques are designed to reduce added stress and anxieties that accompany large workloads. Fighting sexism within any workplace is everyone’s responsibility. Partaking in workshops, being transparent with co-workers and supervisors about workplace behaviours and maintaining core values are methods to reduce workplace sexism. Finally, before travelling internationally, conducting thorough research is imperative to maintain individual safety and national security.


Bachelard, M. and Bateman, P., 2021. The Life of a Foreign Correspondent. [online] Australian Institute of International Affairs. Available at: <> [Accessed March 2021].

Craig, T., 2018. Journalists can face danger, hardships when reporting from overseas. [online] The Washington Post. Available at: <> [Accessed March 2021].

Doeden, A., Gerlach, G. and Steinberg, A., 2020. A [fe]male-dominated field: While more women continue to go into journalism, barriers still present. [online] The Badger Herald. Available at: <> [Accessed March 2021].

Karadjov, C., 2008. Romantic Dreams, Revisionist Nightmares. University of Florida.

Lamb, C., 2019. What does it take to be a foreign correspondent? | British Council. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed March 2021].

Langfitt, F., 2019. The Challenges Of Being A Foreign Reporter In China. [online] NPR. Available at: <> [Accessed March 2021].

Mayer, C., 2018. Catherine Mayer: ‘I don’t know of one female journalist who hasn’t been discriminated against at work’. [online] The Guardian. Available at: <> [Accessed March 2021].

Pedersen, S. and Cronqvist, M., 2020. Foreign Correspondents in the Cold War. 26th ed. Taylor & Francis.

Rampton, J., 2021. Manipulate Time With These Powerful 20 Time Management Tips. [online] Forbes. Available at: <> [Accessed March 2021].

Corporate Finance Institute. 2019. Time Management - List of Top Tips for Managing Time Effectively. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed March 2021].

Weaver, D. and Willnat, L., 2012. The global journalist in the 21st century. Taylor & Francis Group.

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