It started with my heritage – being the daughter of a European (Bulgarian) mother and an American father, I spent months between homes and families on both continents.
At the age of six, I moved with my parents to Naples, Italy, where I was immersed in the Italian language and culture. I played piano under the instruction of a Greek piano teacher and ballet on the stage of the Neapolitan Teatro Augusteo, directed by Italian ballerinas. I further challenged myself by attending a Bulgarian language school during the weekends, Italian courses in the evenings and even completing each of the French Language courses offered by my high school — in hope to one day read all of the great poets in their original written languages. Eventually, my own poems would be translated into Bulgarian and published in the Fairfax County Poetry Almanacs, Still We Rise and But You Continue on…. This interest in language and culture I would carry with me on to college, where I attained French roommates, completed a minor in French language and culture, was inducted in the National French Honor Society, and studied abroad during three summers – in Paris, France and Rome and Perugia, Italy.
When I was 10 years old, my parents moved to Washington, D.C, spending the majority of my adolescence learning about the influential relationship between politics and its effect on culture. While every Sunday I would go to Smithsonian exhibits and act in Shakespeare plays, my intuitive eagerness to understand others also led me to political rallies, embassy events, and educational lectures. Looking upon the world through rose-colored glasses, I felt enabled to make a difference. It was once I began volunteering at the Terry McAuliffe gubernatorial campaign that I learned what it takes for any mission to be successful — creative individuals who are able to stay positive in the face of any shortcomings.
One of the best ways to build relationships between people of different backgrounds is to demonstrate a sincere interest in their culture, their views of the world and their problems. In 2014, when I started my studies at St. John’s University, I felt there was no better option suited for me. I came to realize that my interest in intercultural communication and diplomacy could be fulfilled through the field of journalism. To work effectively with those who are different, therefore, one will need to build caring relationships and to communicate the need for mutual understanding.
In the fall of 2018, I will continue my journalism studies in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters programme, where I will learn to specialize in media, globalization, and reporting across cultures. The two year program begins in Aarhus, Denmark for the first year, and then follows the second year in Hamburg, Germany.
Every day, I learn something new about the world and the people around me. I aim to spread these inspirational stories and messages through my career and to use the many priceless lessons I’ve learned in order to bridge the gap between prejudice and truth.
This archive is a collection of news, experiences, and advice from me and the sources I’ve met on my journeys.
For further access to my portfolio, you can visit https://judithrussell.weebly.com/