A Place for Exploring the World

To say Sachi Sinhara has thrived as a student in UM’s School of Journalism is an understatement. Sachi came to Missoula about five years ago from her home in Sri Lanka. She also spent time studying English as a third language at the Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The daughter of photojournalists who have documented Sri Lanka’s history for the past 40 years, Sachi landed on campus with a worldly mindset not typical of most UM undergrads.

Sachi Sinhara

By taking advantage of numerous opportunities UM students have to travel abroad, however, Sachi’s already-impressive view continues to grow. And grow. And grow.

She traveled to Nicaragua one summer and Kenya the next. This past summer was spent in Germany as part of the J-school’s Missoula to Berlin Project, which sent 18 students to Berlin to report on one of the biggest news stories of the past few years: the European refugee crisis.

“The moment I heard about the project, I was in,” Sachi says. “That’s the best way I learn, by going into a field where it’s something I want to do and am passionate about.”

UM Associate Professor Henriette Löwisch, one of the project leaders, says Sachi was key in donor relations and fundraising.

“If she chooses not to be a journalist, she will be a natural in the development world,” Löwisch says.

Once the project was complete, yet another opportunity presented itself to Sachi and two other UM students: They landed three-week internships with ZDF, a major television station in Berlin. There she helped plan, shoot and produce pieces that aired nationally.

Remarkably, she was in the newsroom when the Brexit story broke in late June. So in a matter of six weeks, Sachi – a UM student – worked on the front lines of two major international stories: the refugee crisis and Brexit.

“UM is a place for exploring the world,” she says, “and it prepares you to do something more.”

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