Why I intern abroad

I’ve been asked a lot recently — by friends in the U.S., by American friends in Costa Rica, by Costa Rican friends in Costa Rica — why I’m continuing my internship at PBS MediaShift while studying abroad at la Universidad Nacional.

It’s a two-pronged answer, one answer more honorable than the other.

First of all, I’m not going to lie: It’s nice to have some income. MediaShift doesn’t pay me in gold bricks or anything, but the little extra cash is nice to put away for after graduation or to subsidize my gallivanting through the jungles of this beautiful country.

The one downside to interning is I do, mathematically speaking, have less time to explore Costa Rica. But the total number of hours lost, in my calculation, are minimal compared to the benefits of continuing my internship. (Besides, most of what I do is done in off hours when I wouldn’t be traveling anyway.) The fact that the costs are meager is definitely a selling point for sticking around.

Yet the money and convenient schedule alone would not justify the hours I’ve put into this job.

More importantly, I also really, truly enjoy what I’m doing.

Screenshots of PBS MediaShift interviews and podcasts

Why? Look no further than this compilation of YouTube videos.

All of these are screenshots of previous MediaShift videos on YouTube, most of which are from episodes of Mediatwits, the podcast I help produce every week.

It perfectly typifies why I enjoy this internship so much. There is no dearth of fantastic conversation on the future of journalism, a topic I hold near and dear to my heart.

The subjects I get to write about and analyze are always fascinating, and they challenge both my pre-conceived notions and my skills in order to accurately cover an industry that is changing so rapidly.

To a certain point, I don’t even see it as work. I’m happy to say most of my internships have typified my goal in life: to live to work, and not to work to live. PBS MediaShift is no exception.

Workin’ hard for the money

I’ve honestly taken on fewer responsibilities, and my boss has been very supportive in giving me opportunities to transition to living in a foreign country, as well as exploring that country.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve been bored.

My biggest project for MediaShift since I’ve been here was — go figure — an article about American University. I interviewed the founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop (based in SOC), Chuck Lewis, about his new report on measuring newsroom impact.

I’ve also helped to produce no fewer than four episodes of The Mediatwits, which have never failed to be exciting, funny, informative and in-depth, due in no small part to our esteemed panel we build every week.

I’ve been doing stuff like this all summer. Check out the rest of my work, if you’re so inclined.

I’m happy to say that I’m just getting started.