Habitat for Humanity in Laredo, Texas Reflections

By Christopher Wink | March 18, 2006

Temple University sent 23 of us to Laredo, Texas to work with Habitat for Humanity. We slept on the ground of vacant classrooms, took less-than-hot showers, and worked a watered-down form of construction from 8am until 4pm daily. For those unfamiliar with what the phrase college spring break generally connotes, this wasn’t your garden-variety week off from American higher education.

Yet, nearly 100 volunteered to pack screwdrivers and hammers in their spring break suitcases. It’s a shame that only 23 of those who applied got to work with the international group that manages to build beautiful homes with volunteer crews and sell them to deserving families with long-term, low interest loans. -The teach-a-man-to-fish type of charity that makes us get mushy inside.

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My future in a manila envelope

envelope.jpg

I just got off the subway, braving the wind to turn in the last of eight applications for post-graduation editorial internships I sent. Clips, a resume and cover letter sent to a stranger to decide whether they want my services for a summer.

They’re all paid internships, they all could lead to becoming a part of their distinguished editorial staffs. The first two I sent off were to the Atlanta Journal-Constition (on Nov. 13) and the Birmingham News (on Nov. 14). I sent one to the Times Picayune (on Nov. 25) and one to the Newark Star Ledger (on Dec. 1).

This week, I mailed off to The Commercial Appeal (on Dec. 13), the Memphis Daily News (on Dec. 13) and The Tennessean (on Dec. 13).

Today, I handed my final one in to the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Dec. 14). I should find out about most early in 2008.

Junior Year Abroad: an online-only NBC pilot travel podcast

UPDATE Feb. 12, 2011: All my NBCU JYA writing, video and photo work has been transferred to subdomain japan.christopherwink.com.

I sent in a two minute video to NBC’s Manhattan headquarters in June 2006. It was an altogether last minute decision. I saw the promotion of the pilot season of an NBC show called ‘Junior Year Abroad’ in an email that came from the communications department of Temple University. I decided there wasn’t anything to be lost.

Not a month later I heard back. After a brief interview and legal semantics, I was offered a spot on the show. I was driven to New York City for an introduction and training, given several hundred dollars worth of equipment and had my semester studying in Japan essentially paid for by a corporation. During my five month stay, I filmed 10 hours video, took more than 1,300 photographs and wrote nearly 60,000 words on my experience in Asia. It offered me a world of knowledge, the only cost being a more passionate desire to see and explore more while I was abroad.

Ten, in all, young college students from across the country, traveling to different parts of the world were selected, as seen above, the only time we met.

The NBC crew used my footage to produce five show-specific pieces, which you can see below, in addition to another seven podcasted videos while I was living in Tokyo, which you can see here.

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Greetings from Abroad: a first e-mail from study abroad

By Christopher Wink | Jul 12, 2005 | First email from Ghana

Date: Tue 12 Jul 12:27:32 EDT 2005
From: Christopher Wink | Add To Address Book | This is Spam
Subject: Greetings from Abroad
To: Family

All:

Sound the trumpeters for I have come to announce my arrival. I am here at the University of Ghana in Legon outside of Accra, and all is well.  I am sorry for not writing earlier, however international calling is somewhat sketchy and internet access is inconvenient, time consuming, and altogether nauseating.

That being said, I don’t know how often I will write, so I better do things real swell now.

The airplane ride was … long.  But it did get me a stamp from Germany and a visa and stamp from Ghana in my passport, the first such signs of an experienced travel I have encountered.

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Backpacking in Eastern China December 2006

Monday, November 27 to December 7, 2006

Before returning back to the United States after living and studying in Tokyo, Japan, I took a couple weeks to visit the two largest and best known metropolises of eastern China: capital city Beijing and cultural hub Shanghai.

I hope to include more details of my experiences in the future, but for now, please enjoy some photos.

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Study Abroad in Tokyo, Japan Fall 2006

Wednesday, Aug. 23 to Dec. 13, 2006

UPDATE Feb. 12, 2011: All my NBCU JYA writing, video and photo work has been transferred to subdomain japan.christopherwink.com.

During the fall semester of my junior year in 2006, I studied in Tokyo, Japan, using photographs, video and a blog to chronicle my nearly six months there. I was prompted to take 1,300 photos, capture almost 10 hours of video and write nearly 60,000 words because I was a cast member on the pilot season of an online-only show produced by NBC. Since the show was never picked up or continued and its Web site has since been taken offline, follow my exploits here, below.

Read the first post I wrote for NBC after arriving in Tokyo here, and my final reflections I wrote while in Tokyo, days before I returned to the United States, here. I also wrote a reflection about study abroad experience in Japan.

Watch the strictly NBC episode specific videos here, or watch the ones produced while I was traveling below.

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Studying Abroad in Ghana, West Africa Summer 2005

Study Abroad in Ghana | July 06 to August 16, 2005

In summer 2005, I studied at the University of Ghana in West Africa. It was, unsurprisingly, a startling experience. I was moved enough to film and write and photograph. Here is a small collection of it all.

Read the first email I sent to family and friends in the first few days of my West African summer here.

Lift Every Voice preview

“Lift Every Voice” is an hour-long film that chronicles that summer 2005, during which I studied at the University of Ghana in West Africa. This is a 30-second preview of it.

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Philadelphia Inquirer Internship Reflection (5/23/06)

By Christopher Wink | May 23, 2006

It was January 16, 2006 that I was offered and I accepted an internship with the Philadelphia Inquirer. It was that very Monday that I accepted a position I hadn’t expected to get, a position with the city desk of a large, historical, urban daily.

I think about the semester I spent walking the streets of Philadelphia with an Inquirer ID around my neck and a steno pad stuck in my back pocket, those felt-tip black pens, Hermes, and DocCenter. I made mistakes, mistakes as inexplicable as your palms sweating when you go to shake some silly celebrity’s hand. I went to court without a pen, to a press conference without a pad, and an interview without both. I called detectives without remembering why and had quotes without remembering from whom.

I covered the courts on Fridays. Allow me to demystify that. Most weeks that meant I sat in the Criminal Justice Center on Filbert Street waiting for jury deliberations to end or chasing down grieving widows to get a quotation on how the verdict made her feel.

Continue reading Philadelphia Inquirer Internship Reflection (5/23/06)

An unannounced welcome

This is a placeholder. A beginning of profound visions, to be sure. No one who gives it any thought doubts that the internet is the home of the next great real estate boom. Westward expansion damn near into the 20th Century left land in the United States cheap enough that it was devalued to the point many who could decided not to pursue its acquisition.

Today, I purchased the ChristopherWink.com domain name for $10.19. Cheap enough that internet space couldn’t be valuable. Yet, still people sit on domain names. I hear there isn’t a three-letter combination .com website that isn’t already purchased.

What I am suggesting is that I don’t know what I want to do with this website. I have tried before and found it self-indulgent. To be true, paying for an address with my own name still seems it, but I press on because I can’t help but think the inevitable progression of things will force everyone to need a home online. This is mine. Waiting for things to put in the attic… and living room… and kitchen

So, I plan on tinkering and learning and making the best looking “Seat Reserved” sign I can. I am particularly unsure of this whole weblog thing. I don’t have the time, interest or belief that anyone cares enough to warrant me updating daily on my life or even what happens around me. I might chronicle the important events of my life, expecting this to, someday, be a means to communicate with those who time won’t allow me to in person.

For now, I see this as the wordiest resume or largest business card I could ever give to potential employers. I will treat it as such. Check back, maybe that won’t be as lame as it seems.

Hurricane Katrina volunteering in New Orleans

I went to New Orleans with Common Ground to offer some post-Hurricane Katrina support. Mostly, I stayed with a hundred other volunteers on cots in a high school gymnasium and worked in small teams to salvage homes in the Ninth Ward.

I was driven to provide some service, having worked in a shelter in Philadelphia of victims.

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