While the situation between Ukraine and Russia escalates, Russian and Belgian journalism students continue to meet and collaborate in biweekly online meetings. Seven students from Thomas More University of Applied Sciences in Mechelen take part.
On the 28th of February, the first of a new series of online meetings between journalism students from a Moscow university and Thomas More Mechelen started. Every two weeks the students discuss different subjects and exchange ideas. Then each group of students writes articles or makes video and audio stories for their target audiences.
Many organisations sever ties with their Russian colleagues and counterparts as diplomatic relations wither, but Thomas More and its partner in Moscow made the conscious decision to continue collaborating. Students and teachers on both sides are thankful for this opportunity. ‘As we are involved in teaching young people to become journalists, we consider this collaboration an essential step in their education. Moreover, we have to show our Belgian students that blaming the whole of Russia does not make sense at all. The Russian students are clearly worried about the current situation and did not choose for the uncertainty they are experiencing right now. We hope that we can stay in touch with them and they can share their stories with us, as our students will do with them. ’, said Lieve Roegiers, teacher at Thomas More and coordinator of the project.
Russian students did however express their worries and fears about the situation in Ukraine. ‘The situation is unpredictable’, said Andrey, ‘We are mostly shocked, like the rest of the world. I wonder how the conflict will influence our economy and the relations with the rest of the world, but I have no idea.’, to which fellow Moscow student Ekaterina added: ‘I think it’s hard to react, but for now our lives are still normal.’
And example of an article written collaboratively can be found here.
Text: Sam Depraetere, IJsbrand van Lambalgen, final editor: Marlies Geyskens
Photo: © Marlies Geyskens