International Media Studies alumna Helen Mendes: “Ten years since graduating, I still think about these classes!” | Alumni | DW | 24.02.2022
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International Media Studies alumna Helen Mendes: “Ten years since graduating, I still think about these classes!”

Helen Mendes was part of the IMS class of 2010-2012. She has since pursued a career in science journalism back in her home country, Brazil. Here, she talks about how the IMS program has helped her find her path.

DW Akademie, Alumna l Helen Mendes

Brazilian science journalist and IMS alumna Helen Mendes

DW Akademie: Why did you want to become part of the IMS program? 

Helen Mendes: When I heard it, I knew I had to apply. I was interested in improving my understanding of the media sector and sharing experiences with colleagues from all over the world. The focus on the role of journalism for development and democracy, as well as the multicultural aspect of the program, were also important factors for me. 

Where has your career taken you since graduating from the IMS?  

After I graduated, I came back to Brazil and worked as a science journalist and editor, writing as a freelance reporter about science and technology for global development. I've also worked in science communication at a national university and, for the last three years, as an international news editor at a newspaper, writing daily news and analyses on global affairs. Now I’m very excited to be starting a new job as a science journalist for a large international research project. This will be a big challenge in terms of my career and getting there is in part due to my experiences at DW Akademie. 

Of the skills you gained during the program, which have been the most important for you? 

It’s a very comprehensive program and there’s something for everyone who works in the media sector. It's been ten years since I graduated, and I still constantly remember the classes we took. I'm especially applying the skills I gained from the journalism lectures, discussions about ethics, media and society, and reporting on conflict and crisis situations. I’m also still in touch with my former classmates and talk to them if I’m writing a news story about their home countries so that I can get a local perspective or ask for sources. 

Were there other aspects of the program that you benefited from? 

This was a life-changing experience and it better prepared me for a career in the media. The lecturers were great and engaged us as students in interesting discussions on a wide range of topics. I gained new perspectives not only about the communication sector in general but also about the media situation in many different countries. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with future IMS students and graduates? 

Enjoy this great opportunity! It will be challenging but worth it! Keep an open mind and you'll learn about the world from your colleagues. Over the two years, you’ll be inspired to make a positive local and global impact. 

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