Gill in Lamu, Kenya
Journalist and Francophile Gillian Cook says that studying Journalism at UTS gave her the opportunity to practice being a reporter in an environment "rich with possibilities and support."
Cook, who completed her BA Communication (Journalism) and in International Studies at the end of 2007, says that although she found her journalism course "challenging at times", studying Communications at UTS enabled her to "develop an understanding of journalism", making her "really question what I wanted to do with my life."
Having loved writing, learning and talking to those around her, Cook says that journalism ended up being a sensible combination of different things she enjoyed.
"I guess at school I enjoyed writing, I was curious about the world and I loved chatting to people about their lives, so it made sense to study journalism. The International Studies part gave me the opportunity to study in France and learn French which I had always wanted to do.
"Studying at UTS was a real pleasure. The lecturers at UTS were incredibly supportive and their wealth of knowledge and experience was invaluable to my own development."
Cook says that the best advice she ever received was that "even though you are a student you have to believe you are a real journalist - when you do that you will be able to grasp the opportunities available to you and get stories published in a variety of media.
Gillian in France
"Make sure you practice journalism while studying journalism - it is tempting to only do the assignments that are set for you but if you go the extra mile and work on things that are beyond what you are obligated to do, then you will be more employable in the future."
After finishing her degree, Gillian completed a month long internship at the Sydney Morning Herald. Cook says it "not only allowed me to prove to myself that I could be a journalist but opened up further opportunities. I am hoping to continue doing some freelance for the Herald.
"I hope to do some freelance journalism work while trying to find full time employment in either a local or regional paper and I might try for the Sydney Morning Herald Traineeship next year.
"I also have plans to travel and hopefully work in France or to apply for an internship at a United Nations Agency. The opportunities are endless and all I have to do make them happen!"
Gillian's story A handful find refuge from horror, was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 27 February 2008.