International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843

JRN 4800 Reporting from Europe's Refugee Trail

JRN Special Topics 4800- Reporting from Europe's Refugee trail is an international reporting program designed to help students prepare for a career in international reporting by teaching a range of news-gathering skills and offering students the opportunity to practice the craft of research and journalism in a foreign land. The research, reporting and writing will center on the migrant issue, where Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees are fleeing their homes in hopes of resettling in safer countries in Europe. Summer 2020 program date TBD.

For more information, contact: Cathy Shafran, Dept. of Journalism at
Where You
Will Be

Students will begin by studying on OU’s campus in a regular classroom, working on historical and journalistic background for the trip.

With this knowledge in hand students will travel together to Athens, Greece spending the first two weeks of the six-week travel at the American College of Greece in suburban Athens.

From there, students will continue along the refugee route traveling by train and mini-bus from the Greek mainland, north through Macedonia and Serbia and other Balkan cities. Some of those nights will be spent in sleeper cars on trains. We will spend 3-4 days in Hungary. The program will wrap up with 10 days based in Berlin, reporting and researching and writing about the impact of massive migration in Germany.
What You
Will Do
and learn

Before the trip abroad, students will receive multi-format journalism education in the areas of podcasting, web and social media video news, as well as TV reporting and news website design. We will also begin our general research about the immigrant movement in Europe and how it has impacted the refugees, European residents and political policy.

During the 6-week period abroad, students will meet with and interview local residents, Syrian refugees, representatives of non-governmental agencies running the camps, and politicians making decisions about their future. These interview opportunities will be made available throughout the entire trip - beginning on the Greek Island of Lesvos where fleeing refugees first make their exit to Greece. The process will continue during our stops in Balkan countries, in Hungary and ending in Germany - a country in political upheaval after its government pledged to relocate a million refugees.
What To

Clothing: A detailed clothing list will be provided. In general, students should bring clothing for very warm weather. Casual wear is fine for the classroom, beach wear is fine for weekends, but students should also bring some professional/modest clothing on excursions. Further details will be provided on how to pack, including a recommendation for travel backpacks instead of standard suitcases.

Equipment: Specifics of equipment will be provided at a later date, but students will be asked to bring personal electronics such as a laptop, smartphone, lightweight tripod and a pocket-sized audio recorder.


JRN 200 or equivalent introductory journalism is recommended with a grade of 3.0 or higher.

Without this prerequisite, preference will be given to students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in courses related to journalism, communication, political science, human rights or international relations. Students with a lower GPA will be considered with a letter of recommendation from an instructor.

A valid passport is required that expires no earlier than six months after the program ends.

JRN 4800 Reporting from Europe’s Refugee Trail
2020 TBD
Number of Credits4
Program Cost$4,150 (plus airfare and tuition)
Application deposit$500 due by Feb. 15, 2019, refundable until Feb. 10.
Meals not includednot included
AirfareNot included
Books and suppliesN/A
Extra costsPassport, personal travel and personal purchases