Student Spotlight: Jalyssa Jimenez Reports From Russia


October 26, 2016

Jalyssa Jimenez, 18, automatically said “no” when DCTV staff asked if she’d like to apply to join an international reporting trip and youth media exchange in Russia. She’d never traveled so far away and was uncertain what to expect. It was a friend who convinced her that DCTV was offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience and encouraged her to apply. Now, freshly back from Russia and currently editing her collaborative video report, Jalyssa is grateful that she changed her mind.

She explains, “Our report is about our travel experience. It’s a film about Russian and American youth exploring each other’s cultures and becoming friends. It’s about curiosity and learning from each other. Traveling to Russia pushed me to think bigger. Being part of an international team collaborating to tell a story gave me more of an educational opportunity than I’d ever experienced before. This trip changed me. I’m more social now and I made good friends. It’s important for young Americans to experience other countries so they can have a better understanding of their own country and the world. I learned that, when it comes down to it, no one is different. We’re all the same no matter where we’re from. On the day we left Russia it was raining. The kids we’d met stood in the rain and sang to us until the train began to pull off. This is a memory I will never forget.”

When Jalyssa joined DCTV’s PRO-TV program in 2015 – 2016, she had no experience with media arts, but she’d seen films by our youth filmmakers during a school field trip. Right away, she knew she wanted to get involved.

Since starting the program, she says, “I’ve never had my perspective change so much. I’ve never felt so supported by a group of people before. Learning about diverse topics and other cultures makes me want to keep moving forward.”

Jalyssa finished an experimental film with her DCTV classmates exploring LGBTQ identity and issues. The students used the pride flag as their theme. They began their film in black and white to visually represent how it feels to be lost. Later in the piece they introduce color to symbolize the rainbow flag and highlight its meaning.

Up next for Jalyssa is one more year of high school, one more year at DCTV, and then hopefully studying film in college. She’s considering FIT and other programs in the city.

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