C&IS Students Travel to France to Produce Joie de Vivre Magazine

May 25, 2022

The College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS) strives to provide students with experiential learning opportunities that allow them to experience the world outside of Reese Phifer Hall.

As part of one of the College’s international travel courses, C&IS students had the opportunity to visit France during spring break to plan and produce Joie de Vivre, an online magazine.

The trip was part of the mass communication course International Storytelling led by Dr. Kim Bissell, associate dean for research and director of the Institute for Communication and Information Research. Students undergo an application process to take the course, and this semester, undergraduate and graduate students from several majors within the College were selected.

Leading up to spring break, the class met every Tuesday for three hours to plan out the magazine, the stories they wanted to write, and the places in France they wanted to visit. Once in France, students gathered content for their stories. When they returned home, they assembled the content and began finalizing the magazine.

Amelia McGowan, a graduating senior and accelerated master’s student, served as editor of Joie de Vivre. She first heard about the course while meeting with Dr. Bissell and was eager to learn more about the opportunity to study abroad. Previously, McGowan had never been able to fit a full study abroad program into her schedule. However, she found Bissell’s course to be the perfect opportunity as it allowed her to pursue her interest and gain leadership skills that she will take with her in her future endeavors.

“It sounds so cliche, but I think my biggest takeaways would be trust the process and trust yourself. When Dr. Bissell made me editor, I was flattered but also very nervous because I had never had that kind of responsibility before and I wasn’t sure I was ready,” McGowan said. “As I started to lean into my role and work with my team, I started to gain more confidence in my skills and trust myself to not only get the job done, but to do it well. I learned so much about what it takes to be a successful leader and be of service to those around me.”

McGowan said the trip and class was extremely beneficial and allowed her to gained ample writing and editing experience. It also gave her the opportunity to learn more about creative media careers, such as photography and film, that she hadn’t learned in her previous courses.

“I cannot recommend this class enough. One of the first things Dr. Bissell told us was ‘I want this to be something that you guys are proud of. I want you to produce things that you can use in your portfolios and showcase in interviews,’ and that really made me think that this was an actual program that would benefit me in the future,” McGowan said. “Going into this class, I didn’t know anyone, so I was a little nervous starting out. But as the semester went on, we all started to become closer. Once we were in France together, we had the best time and became really good friends! I think that’s been my favorite part about this whole experience; getting to know people outside of my major and watching them grow in their craft has been truly rewarding.”

Joie de Vivre is a magazine written, produced and designed by students at The University of Alabama. It contains content that was collected during their trip to Paris, France in March 2022. View the magazine here.