Alumni Memory: Felicia Zuniga, MJ ’12

From the Tunnels of Carleton to the Mountains to Rwanda

I can’t pick just one favourite memory from my time at Carleton, so I’ve narrowed it down to my top five best experiences from completing my Master of Journalism degree from 2010-2012. And while I enjoyed all my teachers and everything I learned; it seems my most memorable moments were created outside the classroom.

1. Living in Leeds – I had attended the University of Calgary in my hometown, so I had never lived in residence before. It was perfect for those snowy, cold Ottawa mornings when I could wake up 20 minutes before class started and rush over, usually stopping to grab a Honey Vanilla Tea Latte from the campus Second Cup on my way. I also remember winding through the underground tunnels to get from residence to the gym for a workout. It was small and cozy, and it was great getting to know all the other residents.

2. Shopping at Loblaws – I flew to Ottawa from Calgary with a few suitcases and didn’t have a car. A fellow Albertan classmate and I would go shopping together every weekend or two. We would hop on the O-train and grab whatever we could carry. I ended up buying a rolling cart to make bringing groceries back easier. I would always replenish my stock of Coke Zero and grab a tray of sushi as a treat on grocery day. One night I was talking to my parents in Calgary and complaining that I had run out of food and my dad had a pizza delivered to my dorm room!

3. The Byward Market –The Byward Market was about a half-hour walk from residence, so it was the perfect spot to visit. I remember my first time ever trying a Beavertail, it was delicious! They finally came to Calgary so I can still enjoy their hot chocolate and Killaloe Sunrise. The Works was another favourite with all their delicious burger combos. During Halloween, we did the Haunted Ottawa walk and learned about the city’s ghost stories. One night a few classmates and I treated ourselves to a fancy dinner at The Byward Market Keg. And it was always a fun place to shop and browse around.

4. Rwanda – Through Carleton and Professor Allan Thompson, I had the opportunity to live in Rwanda for 8 weeks. I worked Monday-Thursday at the Rwanda News Agency, travelling around the city by motorbike, covering stories on topics like Rwanda’s handicraft industry, the annual gorilla naming ceremony, the new Kigali city tower, punishment for traffic violations and more. I also did some freelancing for the Kigali Journal and worked every Friday at a local school teaching English. I’ll never forget all the people I met. I also got to walk alongside Rwanda’s mountain gorillas – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

5. My classmates – Our class had 20 people and we all got to know each other well. In fact, two of our classmates started dating and are still dating today, almost 10 years later! My classmate Lana took me for Thai food in Ottawa for my first time ever. We would all study and do our assignments together. We would get together and play boardgames like Settlers of Catan and make cookies. One night we got all the supplies needed to make our own sushi rolls. We went skating on the canal in the winter and hiking in Gatineau in the fall. I am still in touch with many of my classmates who are now getting married, having kids, changing careers and travelling. Several have stopped by to visit me in Calgary. While getting our Master of journalism degree was challenging, they all made it so much more enjoyable. – Felicia Zuniga, MJ ’12

Alumni Memories are part of Carleton Journalism’s 75th Anniversary.

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Monday, November 9, 2020 in
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