Former student of Journalism at University CEU Cardenal Herrera Lucía Ballester Bellver tells us in this article how her experience in the Vatican was.
My adventure began when, after passing the Final Degree Project of Journalism (after a lot of effort, bruxism and tense looks from the jury members) I was offered a six-month contract in Rome to work on a North American Catholic television. I am an adventurous person and although I know I have missed a lot of things after, I have also gained unpayable experience that will always accompany me.
I did not know whether to accept, but my family and professors at University CEU Cardenal Herrera encouraged me to do so. In October 2016 I moved to Rome, with my heart in my mouth, and started what was my first hands-on experience. And what a great one. It felt like a blind dive without lifeguards, but not into the sea, but into a wild torrent. If one day we had to get up at five to go to Saint Peter’s Basilica to record the Pope and the next day I had to stay until midnight covering the Via Crucis, I did it with pleasure, inexhaustible desire and some very decorative circles under my eyes. Nothing mattered to me; nor the merciless weather of the eternal city, nor the massive number of tourists nor its anguished chaos. Rome is a cruel city, but undoubtedly beautiful. It is impossible not to fall in love with Rome.
Being a journalist in Rome allowed me to see things that I would never see otherwise. Meet important personalities… and, well, be close to the Pope every Wednesday. One meter away from him. Even less. With his good-natured expression in contrast to my rigid features of pure nerve. My task was to take photos, unable to speak, just smile behind the body of the camera. Capture the Pope’s smile behind the glass lens. To live such overwhelming experiences is something I shall never forget.
Not only did I take photos: I was also able to work as a reporter, editing small videos and going live with our Latin American network. Going out on TV terrified me, but then I discovered that it was the same as being in class with Carles: only that, this time, you were seen by thousands of people and he was not there to correct you.
I HAVE MADE VERY GOOD FRIENDS THAT I HOPE TO KEEP FOR ALL MY LIFE.
Without a doubt, knowing English helped me a lot, not only to be hired, but to survive in a company where the majority were Americans. I also learned Italian, very useful to work in those Vatican environments. I highly recommend learning languages. I think they open doors to you, not only to interesting works, but also to wonderful people. I have made very good friends that I hope to keep throughout my life. I traveled with them, some for work, I saw hidden villages in Italy… in short, six months off-road that were, at the same time, a blow of fresh air and a slap on the face.
IT GAVE ME EXPERIENCE, MATURITY TO DEAL WITH STRESS, I LEARNED HOW TO WORK IN A GREAT FIRM, HANDLING PROFESSIONAL EQUIPMENT.
Although emotionally it was a very hard experience, professionally it enriched me a lot: it gave me great experience, maturity to deal with stress, I learned how to work in a large company, managing complex teams. I also had to live alone, in a tiny, rancid room (although with a very comfortable bed that I enjoyed every night when I was exhausted) and that taught me to be independent and to value small things.
I believe that experiences outside your country (hence, your comfort zone) are absolutely necessary for your personal, professional and emotional development. At CEU Valencia they always encouraged me to try my limits by leaving them. They say that people who live outside their country, when they return, are not the same again. And it is painfully true.
I’m not the same.
I AM A BETTER VERSION OF ME, ALWAYS GROWING, ALWAYS IMPROVING.