WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29
When Joel Boh decided to wind down his studies in the U.S., little did he know he would make national news in his temporary home while doing so.
The attention wasn’t so much about what the student from Singapore did but what he captured through his camera lens that made it into The New York Times, MSNBC, Yahoo News and others via the Reuters newswire service. Boh, who is attending Oklahoma City University to complete his three-week residency, took photos of the April 19 Oklahoma City National Memorial that became not only part of his travel journal, but also part of his career clipbook. Not bad for a student who had only been in Oklahoma City for three days.
“I knew it would be a major event nation wide, so I decided to grab my gear and see what I could get,” Boh said.
The 27-year-old is on leave from his job on the Reuters picture desk in Singapore to attend OCU. Boh brought his photography equipment along just in case, which includes a laptop computer that allowed him to send his photos from the memorial service straight to his newsroom half a world away. From Singapore, editors were on hand to edit and move the pictures onto the Reuters newswire to be picked up by media outlets across the world for use in their publications.
Boh said he was surprised to see the extent of play the pictures got on various nationwide news sources and said he’ll never know exactly how many media outlets picked up on the story besides those previously mentioned. He gathered extra copies of The New York Times from the newspaper racks around campus so he can take them back home as a keepsake.
As for his studies, Boh said he is enjoying his full class schedule — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with an hour lunch break at midday. Currently, most of his class time is dedicated to learning television production in the Mass Communications program at Petree College of Arts and Sciences. He and his fellow students from Singapore take a bus to and from their hotel each day, with occasional side trips for entertainment or to pick up necessities.
Although Boh had never been to the U.S. before, there were several familiar faces here because many OCU professors occasionally fly to Singapore to teach there.
“It’s a reunion of sorts,” he said.
Boh likes to read novels when not in class or studying. “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac is one of his current favorites.
“You gotta read ‘On the Road’ if you’re travelling on the road,” he said.
And even though there is a lot of learning packed into an abbreviated schedule while he’s here, he appreciates the extra education that comes from living in a foreign country.
“Our schedules seem full, but we’re still getting to absorb a whole new culture. We’re free to create our own experience,” he said.