Mexico media and  journalism placements

My time in Mexico

Recent graduate and freelance journalist Rachael Pells, joined our print journalism project in Mexico as part of wider travels around Central America. Here's her story:

When planning my year abroad, I knew that as well as travel and explore as a backpacker, I wanted to do something productive with my time: something related to my future career plan which I would both enjoy and learn from.

I stumbled across Global Media Projects online and was immediately impressed by the kinds of projects they did: so many people I knew had gone with big "gap year" companies who seemed to charge an awful lot for relatively little benefit. The media projects which GMP offered suited me well, since Journalism is the career-path I want to go down. Up until this point I had found it very difficult to acquire work experience at home in the UK and the media placement in Mexico proved to be an excellent opportunity to boost my CV. I tailored my placement at the newspaper in Guadalajara to last 6 weeks, but ended up staying a little longer because I enjoyed it so much.

Rachel at home on the print media project in mexicoArriving in Guadalajara, I was picked up from the airport by Ariel and taken to his family home, where I met his warm and welcoming parents-in-law, wife, daughter and dogs. That evening I was shown around the city centre: Ariel showed me the best places to buy snacks and souvenirs from, and confirmed to me that it was safe to walk alone, something which some of my friends and family at home would never have believed. You could really tell that Ariel was a well-known character around the area by the amount of people who stopped to chat and shake his hand. As we walked past enticing food and craft stalls, he showed me the best people and places to buy from, emphasising the importance of supporting the local community. Guadalajara was already beginning to feel like a home away from home.

In terms of my placement, time and arrangements were surprisingly flexible to suit my preferences. Of course, I soon realised that most things in Latin America abided by this easy-going mentality! I was nervous to be working in Mexico because my Spanish was minimal to say the least, but as soon as I met the staff at the Guadalajara Reporter newspaper, I felt welcome and relaxed. I would certainly recommend that others have a basic knowledge of Spanish before embarking on the placement, simply because this would allow for more opportunities such as the chance to take interviews. The newspaper is however run by and for American and English ex-patriates, so there was plenty to be getting on with in both Spanish and English.

The Guadalajara Reporter is comprised of a small but closely run team, which meant there were plenty of opportunities for me to write articles and get involved in the day to day runnings of the paper. My spanish improved rapidly as I got into the habit of scanning the local papers for transferable stories, and of course from living and socialising in the area. I spent a lot of time working from the office using my tech skills, but also had the opportunity to go on a day's business trip to the stunning Lake Chapala, south of the city. Other highlights from my time at the paper included attending a Valentine's Day lunch organised within the expatriate community, on which I wrote and photographed for an article. In my very last week, I was lucky enough to have one of my pieces published on the front page: something I never expected to achieve as an intern!

Expiatro in GuadalajaraThe whole experience was invaluable in that it not only increased my confidence but gave me a fantastic set of articles and experiences with which to improve my portfolio. Whilst in Mexico, I applied for my MA Journalism course and truly believe that having done a placement abroad with GMP gave me the upper-edge and helped secure my university place.

When the time came to leave Guadalajara, Ariel proved to be an excellent source of advice for my ongoing trip through Mexico and Central America. I still keep in touch with Mama Rossy and some local people I met there, and can absolutely imagine myself returning to, if not living in the city one day. Thanks Global Media Projects!


You can read some of the articles that Rachael had published during her time at the Guadalajara Reporter and follow the rest of her travels here:

Rachael's published stories and blog (opens an external website)

To follow in Rachael's footsteps you can find more information on our media projects in Mexico here:

Print and online media projects
TV Placements in Mexico
Radio placements in Mexico
Flim production placements in Mexico