Senior Broadcast Journalist for BBC World television, London, England

jennifer carswell

Two days after graduating from Humanities in 2005, I hot-footed it to the airport with a ticket to Europe and have not been back – to live – ever since. After a number of years in Paris, with short stopovers in Morocco and Mumbai, I now call London home and spend most of my days in the BBC newsroom.

My career in journalism took an unlikely path – but can without a doubt be traced back to the Bachelor of Humanities. I spent a total of six years living in France, which can be broken down thusly: two years hanging out; two years doing my Master’s degree in journalism at the prestigious Centre de Formation des Journalistes; two years working at France 24 (a rolling news channel).

It was during this first phase that I decided to volunteer in Marrakech at a home for poor and orphaned children for three months. I went to teach French and English – and quickly realised that the kids and staff members did not speak either. And so I learned very quickly how to communicate without language and discovered what it felt like to be really and truly alone. So I wrote. I wrote about what was different. I wrote about what was the same. I wrote about my adventures. I wrote about misogyny. I wrote about sisterhood. I wrote about food. I wrote about it all. I wrote to tell people’s stories. And this is now what I do everyday.

My love of stories, as a window into humanity and what makes us truly human, took root during the Humanites programme and has blossomed ever since. On a regular basis, I go back to Humanities basics by examining original sources and documents and trying as best I can to get behind, underneath, and around what is really there to figure out what is important. And I use the critical thinking skills that I developed and crafted at the College of the Humanities to decipher all of the information that bombards me daily and turn it into something that other people can understand. Or such is the goal.

The further I get from my education the more I appreciate what it taught me and what it allows me to continue to learn. I work in the world of media, which can be a never-ending news factory. But having the ability to step back and think – actually think – is something that has not only saved me on many occasions but has allowed me to find the joy in all the chaos.

Jennifer Carswell is a senior broadcast journalist for BBC World television in London, England.

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