Costa Rica State of Mind

BY MEGHAN GARGAN, ELON IMEDIA CLASS 2011

Let me be the first to say Happy Holidays from all of us here at Eye on iMedia! With the end of first semester only a few short weeks away, the students in the program are hardly taking a break! While we’re continuing to wrap up projects and prepare for finals, we’ve also started to plan and prepare for the upcoming Winter Term Fly-In, which focuses on creating an interactive project for the public good.

Every Winter Term (which lasts the month of January), the students of iMedia have the fantastic opportunity to give back to international non-profit organizations who want to expand their digital presence through the use of interactive media. For 10 days, four groups of students – two journeying to Panama and the remainder heading to opposite coasts of beautiful Costa Rica – will travel abroad to meet each client and gather content, which will be used once we return to help build an interactive website aimed at spreading awareness of each organization. Check out one of last year’s awesome sites!

However, the fly-in’s aren’t all work! While abroad, each group of students have once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to explore the jungles and cultures of each respective country (for example, my Costa Rica group is scheduled to frolic on the Caribbean coast in addition to exploring a local volcano…what’s life without a little danger, I ask?)

I have to admit that in addition to my excitement at the prospect of warmer temperatures (and volcano climbing) during the dead of winter, I’m also looking forward to working with a group of highly talented people – my classmates. Within each group, students have been able to pinpoint their strengths and take on roles accordingly. For example, on my trip I’ll focus on project management and content generation. Others are responsible for interactive design, informational design, artistic direction and layout design. However, the best part? While each of us is able to hone in on areas of the interactive process that interest us, the fly-ins are treated as a learning experience, which translates to everyone will have an opportunity to do everything from gathering content to developing Flash components to building the structural HTML/CSS foundation that will host the site.  It’s a time for individual and group growth and to learn from each other to build the best interactive project possible (and for such well-deserving organizations).

I see that I’ve begun to ramble, but really this is only a chunk of the information I could share about our upcoming trips.  It’s an exciting time and groups have already begun to bond over group dinners, create t-shirts/group logos and have made it a point and a priority to learn as much as possible (and share that knowledge with each other) before take-off in January.  There may even be a bit of friendly competition and a definite eagerness to see what all the groups produce.

So, while we’re still racing towards that first semester finish line, we’re also keeping our iMedia eye on the prize and planning to take our new skills and use them to better one little corner of the world…which I have to say, is a pretty satisfying feeling already.

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