WSU students enjoy last days of learning abroad in Serbia

SPOKANE, Wash. — Local college students are rushing into the final days of their once-in-a-lifetime trip to Serbia. It gave them a global perspective that they bring back to America.

“I definitely recognize our privilege,” Abby Davis said. She is a senior in television news and public relations.

Journalism students from Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication are spending a week in Serbia learning about press freedom. Seeing what journalists cover abroad has opened their eyes to the freedoms they have in America.

“Honestly, we’ve met some of the greatest journalists we’ll ever meet. They face a huge struggle every day just to get the news out there,” Rick Sinnett said. He is a junior studying integrated strategic communications.

Since some media in Serbia is state-run, the government controls much of what people know or don’t know. In the United States, we have the right to free speech. In Serbia, this protection is limited.

“We certainly have huge advantages in the United States just with the information we have and the ability to relay it without any influence from any state entity,” Sinnett said.

The United States has worked for years to support independent journalists working in the region. The four students were able to witness this progress at a special dinner organized especially for them by the United States Embassy.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am deeply grateful to the American Embassy in Belgrade,” he said.

The capital of Serbia, Belgrade, will be remembered as full of character but above all as a welcoming host.

“I can sum it up in four words: friendly, graffiti, cigarettes and coffee, but friendly definitely being the very first,” Sinnett said with a laugh.

It was the first international experience for many of them, and they only have a few days left to integrate even more.

“We just want to do it all,” Davis said.

The Serbian home team will return to Washington this weekend.

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