Written by Erin Willis
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in another country and reporting its exciting news back to Australia and other parts of the world, then no doubt the TOL Foreign Correspondent Training Course is for you.
Based in the amazing and beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic, TOL runs its Foreign Correspondent Training twice a year (usually January and July) which provides invaluable experience for any budding foreign correspondent.
The course is structured so that it involves a series of lectures from freelancers, journalists from the BBC, the Economist and other renowned publications along with a visit to Radio Free Europe and lectures from experts in photo journalism and digital media.
Beyond this, the TOL training course also involves a reporting project which encourages participants to research and pitch a story from back home, before arriving in Prague to conduct interviews and file a complete article on the issue for a foreign audience.
The reporting project provides a challenge to all participants who must overcome language barriers in order to conduct interviews but also teaches the importance of research when trying to paint a full picture of a foreign country’s situation in relation to chosen issues.
While this sort of pressure might turn you away from taking up this opportunity, the TOL course does not shy away from letting you experience what Europe and Prague is really famous for.
Prague has a seriously incredible nightlife and some amazing food on offer – some of which will be showcased in the training’s social program with a welcome dinner, a mid-week music show, an end of week drinks and a farewell dinner.
However, if you’re not satisfied with that, there’s plenty of time to check out places such as the Beer Museum (so many types of beer), the Beer Factory (pour your own and compete with other tables) or go on one (or all) of Prague’s famous pub crawls. You can also use your weekend as an opportunity to get out of Prague and see some of the Czech Republic’s other wonders such as Kutna Hora, Cesky Krumlov or the town of Pilsen.
All in all, the TOL Foreign Correspondent Training offers its participants the fundamentals needed for starting a career in foreign correspondence, an opportunity to make friends (and contacts) from all over the world and the chance to experience Prague (now one of my favourite cities). If you have a chance to participate in this course or a similar one in your own field, definitely take it and make the most of it – even if that means partying till 7am and starting class at 9am – it’s totally worth it!