On November 24, I walked out of my last exam with a somewhat nervous spring in my step. My first year of university absolutely flew by. From the tedious early morning lectures (or ‘dawnies’) to the thrill of seeing a laboriously-written article in black and white, 2014 was an excellent year to begin my foray into the working world of journalism. I could not wait to take the next step towards the career of my dreams.
While Skyping my mother a few weeks before my arrival to Kuwait, she encouraged me to apply for a job, worried that I would get bored during my 11-week holiday. With a measly year’s worth of journalism experience under my belt, I decided that an internship with a publication in Kuwait would be the perfect ‘filler’. I remembered the times that I sat in Starbucks and how I would while away the hours flipping through the free, glossy publication bazaar. On a whim, and to keep my parents happy, I decided to research the magazine and apply for an internship. Clicking ‘send’ and watching my long-winded email and CV whoosh off into cyberspace, I felt like I was applying for my first job.
A few days later I received a welcoming and enthusiastic response from the Operations Manager of the publication, and I started to get excited. Although I considered myself a die-hard news writer, I had heard of the importance of a versatile journalist in the ever-shrinking career pool and decided that some experience in magazine writing would not do any harm.
Inevitably, as my first day loomed, friends and family joked about the ‘coffee internship’ I was about to embark on. The heavily practical journalism course I was enrolled in and the numerous campus newspapers available to student writers gave me a taste of what it meant to be a working journalist. The idea of making coffee whilst other people went on assignment or wrote articles made me uneasy and I simply hoped that I would have a chance to contribute some of my work.
I made my way to the office for the first time with no idea what it looked like or who my colleagues would be. Upon arriving, all of my fears were refuted. The office consisted of less than 10 people, all of whom were warm and friendly. I was quickly introduced to the team and shown to the only empty desk in the office. I came prepared with a couple of story ideas and was soon sending through my complete articles and anxiously watching them pass through the editing process.
In my application, I had mentioned that I had some prior knowledge of online writing and editing. However, this was based on a mere 3-week course I came across at university and my coding skills were below par. After a week of uploading bazaar’s older content onto the soon-to-be-launched website, I started to get a grasp of WordPress and was embedding photos and videos into articles. The way an article could be brought to life on an online platform was astounding. I began to write articles specifically for online content and found that it came with a certain flexibility. I provided readers with additional links to other articles and even Soundcloud tracks to listen to as they read my article. I was able to practice the kind of journalism I loved interacting with and it inspired my decision to start a blog.
When I found out I would be writing a food review, I was ecstatic. I had read other reviews and the process sounded like a dream come true: eat delicious food, take in the surroundings and write. Although I initially struggled to inject enough of bazaar’s voice into my writing, I was soon capturing the essence of eating at the restaurant and successfully conveyed it!
By far my favorite memory was when we started working on the Mubarakiya feature for the February issue. I was able to go on assignment with the majority of the office and see the area in a completely different light. I built on my previously non-existent photography skills in the vibrant and captivating Souq and learnt so much about Mubarakiya. I realized its significance in the daily lives of the people of Kuwait.
Leaving Kuwait to start my second year of university was more difficult than expected, not only because I knew I would miss my parents and brothers in the year that we are apart, but also because I knew my times with the bazaar family that I was so fortunate to be a part of, were over. I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some very gifted and passionate people and witness the inner workings of Kuwait’s response to top caliber journalism. And I didn’t make one coffee!