From Australia to Salt: How a Student from Afar Found Her Way to Maine

From Wellington, New Zealand by way of Australia, Emma Nobel is presently in Maine studying journalism at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, and helping out around Broadreach HQ until mid-May. Below is her response to the question, “So… why Maine?”

 My thesis supervisor was the first person to tell me about the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. As a journalism undergraduate, I was warned that securing a job in my field would be a near impossible task. Like the dark, dystopian future imagined in The Hunger Games, new graduates would fight to the death for a small number of opportunities. I began to consider how to set myself apart from my peers and improve my chances abroad, and the Salt Institute seemed like the best way to bridge the gap between the academic world and the professional one. 

Going through the application process in the height of an Australian summer, it felt like a fanciful idea in a faraway place, which made being accepted into the program that much more surreal. 

Despite being armed with a Lonely Planet Guidebook, I was woefully underprepared for the Salt Institute and for Maine. For one, snow in Australia and New Zealand is an uncommon occurrence. It’s something we drive five or more hours out to the nearest mountain to ski, not something to wade through, ankle deep, on the way to the grocery store. Eating at diners, learning how to drive on the opposite side of the road, and deciphering the Mainer dialect have all been unique learning experiences. 

Making radio at the Salt Institute is equal parts challenging and rewarding. I’m learning the ins and outs of audio editing software, interviewing techniques and how to navigate a media industry that’s undergoing rapid change – the Serial effect. It’s an immersive experience. The things I’ve learned and the friendships I’ve gained have been invaluable. 

I am very fortunate to be involved at Broadreach PR during my time at the Salt Institute. It’s a great opportunity to supplement my journalism studies and apply what I’ve learned about media and writing to the real world.