In her preparation to become an international reporter, UNT journalism student Heather Lacy knows she needs firsthand cultural experience to give her an edge over the competition - and to give her a richer educational experience.
Lacy is one of eight undergraduate and graduate-level UNT students who will spend the four-week winter break studying culture and music at India's Mysore University as part of UNT's first formal educational exchange program with a university in India. While six of the students will return to the United States on Jan. 12, Lacy and one other student will continue their studies in India through April.
"I would rather experience it than read it," Lacy says. "This is a huge world, and not everyone lives the life we live over here, and it's so easy to not realize that. Reading about them doesn't have the impact of being there and feeling it and living it yourself."
Though offered through the UNT College of Music, the exchange program is open to students of all majors, such as Lacy, who is studying broadcast journalism.
The group will be led by Dr. Steven Friedson, professor of music, and Sriji Poovalur, a renowned South Indian drummer. Students will hear artists' lectures, listen to concerts, visit historical sites, watch a filming and recording session in India's massive filmmaking industry and visit Mysore University for a residency to study religion, philosophy and music.
"It's going to be very exciting for the students - an opportunity for them to encounter an incredible musical culture on the ground and a different way of being in the world through an intensive 24-hour-a-day experience," Friedson says.
Lacy will graduate with her bachelor's degree in December of this year, but she plans to use the experience in India for graduate-level course credit. This is her second study-abroad trip, as she and several other students spent a summer studying in Ghana on a previous trip with Friedson.
"This will give me an advantage in the long run," she says, "and it really adds to who I am as a person."
UNT News Service Press Release
Ellen Rossetti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.