After three engaging, invigorating and inspiring years in my classes at High Point University and abroad, I was given yet another opportunity to develop myself as a writer, reporter and globally aware individual this summer.
I was selected to travel abroad again this summer in conjunction with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. After receiving the fellowship from HPU’s Campus Consortium I was assigned as a student grantee to report on and cover a topic of my choosing.
Using my previous experience as a study abroad student at the University of St. Andrews (a partner with HPU’s abroad program), I drafted a project to cover the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum vote. Through my four months as a student in Scotland I created a number of contacts that I revisited this summer as I further explored the fiercely debated issue of Scottish independence.
The grant I received from the Pulitzer Center allowed me to spend a full month in the United Kingdom this past summer, and I made sure to cover as many different locations and voices as possible.
Beginning in London, I was able to get a feel for the English attitude on the upcoming referendum. I then traveled north to Scotland and revisited the world-renowned University of St. Andrews to collect more professional input on this important issue. Next was the political and cultural capital of Edinburgh, where there was no shortage of independence opinions to go around. Lastly, I expanded my trip to the far corners of Scotland that included the highlands, the islands and the lush valleys of Speyside to collect the voices of the people.
Studying abroad was one of my most life-changing experiences at HPU, but serving as an investigative reporter in the country gave me an even deeper opportunity for engagement. This time around I had professional encounters with officials that ranged from Scottish members of Parliament to professors at top universities to the country’s retired veterans.
I spent days sprinting to and from the London Underground rail stations and climbing aboard dozens of double-decker buses in Edinburgh. This summer allowed me to properly dip my toes into the professional world and in a culture entirely different to my home United States.
I spent days and nights organizing notes and interview times, but still managed to make this a fun and unforgettable preparation for my future. I feel more prepared than ever to say that I can be dropped into any city on the globe and find a way to perform my duties. It’s also a very rewarding and very exciting feeling to see your name attached to an institution such as the Pulitzer Center. This is definitely something to put at the top of my resume.
The best part of it all? The support I received from my HPU family. Before leaving, I was already confident that my trip was going to be a success from the assistance that I acquired at HPU. My professors were quick to send their encouragement and offer any additional help as I worked on a new platform. My experience would have been far different if my professors had not been there to help.
While the trip may seem like a laundry list of destinations, it served as a true cultural immersion for myself and allowed me to experience the field like never before. I discovered Scotland’s residents were passionate and well informed about an issue that hasn’t received much attention in the United States to this date. It is an issue that looms so large that updates over the referendum were front page headlines every day. After a summer like mine, I feel like I am not far from being the one to write those headlines. (To read Henry’s articles click here.)
– Henry Molski