Friday, July 15, 2016

Say ‘SUSI’

Written and Edited by Rosette Leung
Hong Kong

Athens, OH – Have you ever been to Ghana? South Africa? Egypt? Mongolia? PNG? The SUSI program this year involves 18 scholars (and me) from countries all over the world. This perhaps is the first time for most scholars to meet people from such a multicultural background. In the Ohio University, ‘SUSI’ not only refers to The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) of Journalism and Media, but also symbolises a tiny community that is formed outside the 18 countries’ national boundaries.

The best choice of word for describing the SUSI program, perhaps, is globalisation. 18 scholars travelled from countries miles away to the US, and gratefully, sharing the same language – English. Introducing oneself looks easy, but it can be very difficult if you are asked to introduce yourself to people who come from countries you have never heard about.

Given lots of opportunities to introduce themselves, scholars quickly adapted to a new community called “SUSI”. Names such as Patrick, Daniel, Joanna, Kaman, Jorge and Marina are common and easy to be remembered, but there were names uniquely representing the culture of a country, such as Sofiene, Signe, Thapa, Batzor, Ashfara, Mausumi, Nahria and Fatma. These ‘uncommon’ names in the West became meaningful with their life stories and cultural background exemplified with the self-introductions among scholars.

SUSI scholars introduced themselves for the first time during orientation.(Photo courtesy of program assistants of SUSI)

Mikson Senong, scholar from the South Africa, with his inspector hat and badge from home country. (Photo courtesy of program assistants of SUSI)

The Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) on Journalism and Media is a summer institute funded by the U.S. Department of State and hosted by the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University. Director of Institute of International Journalism Prof. Yusuf Kalyango, is the program director and Prof. Mary Rogus is the academic director of the program.

Scholars and professional journalists from 18 countries, namely: South Africa, Mongolia, Tunisia, Egypt, Hong Kong China, Romania, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ghana, Papua New Guinea, Uruguay, Nepal, India, Estonia, Sudan, Russia and Melta travelled to the U.S. for participating in the six-week SUSI program from June to August. In addition to classes conducted in the Ohio University, these scholars travelled to Cleveland, Chillicothe, Amish Country, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Washington D.C.

SUSI scholars visited the Republican National Convention venue in Cleveland.

Lifelong learning is embraced in Hong Kong and many countries of the world during recent decades. One of the scholars, Mausumi Bhattacharya from India, said this is the first time for her to live and study with people from so many different cultural backgrounds.

One of the favourite activities the SUSI scholars enjoyed the most was EATING.

“I met people with multicultural background in a number of academic conferences before, but I have never given a chance to stay in the same place with them. SUSI is such a wonderful experience for me to interact with intelligent and high-status journalism scholars and professionals from all over the world," Bhattacharya said.

She added that many academics in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism have strong academic and research background, the SUSI program was definitely a bright start for her inter-scholar exchanges and understanding of the U.S. media system.

Tom Rosenstiel, co-author of The Elements of Journalism, lectured the SUSI scholars via Skype.

“Make it connect”, one of the mottos of the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, has been apparently realized in the SUSI program. Two weeks have passed since the scholars first met, a true relationship between scholars and scholars, as well as scholars and academics of the Scripps School, has been vigorously built among the tiny SUSI community, and in this Schoonover Center for Communication.

Motto on the pillar of the E.W. Scripps School of Communication.

Postscript: “Say ‘SUSI’” was a calling by Prof. Mary Rogus for inviting scholars to smile during photo taking. She was excited to meet her ex-student Katy at the RNC venue.

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Debastuti said...
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