DOHERTY: Traveling provides lessons for home

My Les Aspin trip to Ghana this winter break was a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience for me. This immersion provided me with so much more knowledge than I could ever learn in a classroom, as I enjoyed the guest lectures and learning about Ghanian culture and politics from the people themselves.

Since returning to Marquette, I cannot stop connecting my experiences in Ghana to topics in my courses, journalism jobs and daily life and culture. I have always been a “homebody” and convinced myself I never needed to study abroad or travel. I believed I could learn anything I needed to right here in my comfort zone.

I was so wrong.

Traveling to Ghana has inspired me to learn more about the world as a community and immerse myself in other cultures. I grew as a person by gaining the confidence and independence to travel with relative strangers to a foreign country and by interacting with people half a world away from me, and I still found connections and meaningful relationships at the core of our shared humanity.

In a more specific example, I learned so much about the true importance of a free press in a developing democracy from Raymond Archer, editor-in-chief of The Inquirer. Faced with the constant commercialization of the media and news of journalism as a “dying career,” I was questioning my choice of study.

Raymond proved to me that journalism serves a greater function in society. The industry keeps ethics in check and informs the public.

To quote Thomas Jefferson, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

Instead of worrying about job stability and what the future holds, this trip reaffirmed my belief that journalism serves a unique and important purpose in the stability of democracy.