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An unusual study abroad experience to study and practice photojournalism and to explore the political science of a region fraught with tensions during the Cold War. Using both conventional and digital camera and computer editing equipment, students explored Antarctica aboard a 1989 Russian-registry, ice-class ship ("Peregrine Mariner"/"Akademik Ioffe"), operated by a Russian crew, offering an opportunity to augment students' understanding of the competition between the world's superpowers for decades over the environmental and strategic importance of the south polar continent.
This multi-focus study abroad experience concentrates on photography with a well-published photojournalist and on the geopolitics of Antarctica with a career CNN foreign affairs correspondent. Hands-on experiences are expected to include making photographs in the extraordinary south polar "summer" and writing stories to accompany those photos for publication on a University of Delaware web site and, perhaps, in other publications.
Students chose among a variety of subjects to explore (examples include wildlife, global warming, scientific exploration at the poles, the ozone layer and the politics of the continent and its military and scientific significance).
Students camped overnight on the polar ice and made frequent small-boat excursions from the ship to shore.
Students used state-of-the-art digital photography and computer equipment in a unique mobile photojournalism laboratory equipped by donors lending or contributing equipment for this expedition. Reports and student photos were published directly to the internet.
Onboard ship, students learned from experts among other passengers and crew, including topics such as photography, zoology, ocean science, polar history, and ornithology. Shipboard staff also offer presentations on topics such as whales, seals, penguins, other bird life.
The photos and projects were presented to the ship's passengers and staff.
Students also experienced more than a week in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where concluding classes, photgraphy excursions and cultural expeditions were conducted. At the southern tip of Argentina, before launching for Antarctica, students visited one of the world's most beautiful natural mountain ranges near Ushuaia. Students also made a brief excursion to Colonia, Uruguay, a picturesque port town near Buenors Aires.
Offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the nether reaches of the globe, this study abroad experience illustrates well the interdisciplinary nature of journalism. Students were exposed to political and scientific issues they may never have considered, and, through review of the Antarctic Treaty of 1961, come to understand why global problems often require complex international agreements. Students also will discover the difference between writing concisely to accompany their photography and writing more extensively for a special-interest audience.
"Voyage to Antarctica" offered an incomparable opportunity to explore issues and places about which most students only read or see on television. It also offered the intercultural experience of visiting the capital of Argentina and the southernmost tip of the western hemisphere, and of meeting and working with Russian crew members.
All photos on this page were taken by participants in UD's 2005 Voyage to Antarctica.