John F. Kennedy

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I’m in Boston, the birthplace of the United States most esteemed President – John F. Kennedy – how could I not check out a whole museum dedicated to the leader who’s reign sadly ended prematurely?

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I’d read about the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum before I’d even left Australia and it was on the top of my list of places to go in Boston. The museum is in the Columbia Point area of Boston and features an enormous glass panelled section that houses an American flag, the largest flag I’ve ever seen.

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The museum began with a video introduction to JFK and how he rose from the son of an American Ambassador to a military serviceman to campaigning for Governor of Massachusetts and later for the President of the United States.

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Then we walked through the history of JFK’s campaign for President up until November 22, 1963, the day JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

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A map of a Cuban missile camp.

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Replica of JFK’s White House Oval Office (minus the flat screens)

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This coconut saved JFK’s life when he was stranded on an island as a seaman.

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I hadn’t realised how much President Kennedy had accomplished during his reign of 1,036 days. He had handled issues such as the space race, the Cuban missile crisis, Berlin Wall, and had done a lot to bring to light issues surrounding people with mental disabilities.

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The day of the Cuban missile crisis

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A piece of the Berlin Wall.

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I very much enjoyed checking out the John F. Kennedy library and museum and would recommend it to anyone who’s visiting Boston – even if you’re not that into politics.

Three Weeks

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Three weeks

It’s just ticked over three weeks since I’ve been here in the US and I have to say, it’s been a great experience!

The first week on-campus was a bit iffy – I was placed into an essentially off campus property, however this was quickly fixed by the university and I was moved into one of their new properties, International Village.

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My university for six months – Northeastern University!

My first week of American classes was an eye-opener! I now know what it’s like to be a true ‘full-time’ student. My class schedule requires me to be at university everyday from 9-5 – no longer do I have days off or one-lecture days, although I am studying five classes.

The view from my new apartment - International Village.

The view from my new apartment – International Village.

Goodbye to lectures as I knew them – American college classes are a hybrid of what most Australians would know as lectures and tutorials, and you’re encouraged to create debates and question the professor. Oh yeah, and at college, you call your teacher ‘Professor’ unless they permit you to call them anything else. (and I thought they only did that at Hogwarts?!)

The first three weeks have been a whirlwind of moving in, discovering campus, exploring Boston and being a true tourist, and don’t forget harassing the local wildlife!

This little guy kept us Australians occupied for quite some time.

This little guy kept us Australians occupied for quite some time.

I’ve also been checking out the Varsity and NBA games in Boston. Northeastern’s varsity teams are called the Huskies and Boston’s NBA team is the well-known Boston Celtics.

Boston Celtics V Indiana Pacers

Boston Celtics V Indiana Pacers

I’ll be sure to keep the updates coming more often, and I’ll be posting about my trip to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library soon!

Catchya from the US,

Ben!

Boston I’m coming!

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Boston CBD and Boston Harbour

Summer is well and truly here, although for me, I only have four weeks left of summer… I’m off on exchange to BOSTON!

For those who don’t know where Boston is, it’s the capital of Massachusetts in the north-eastern tip of the United States, about three hours drive north of New York City.

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I’m leaving Australia on the 29th of December and will be returning mid 2013 with my parents who are coming over for a business/holiday trip. I’ll be flying into a frozen Boston and experiencing my first snow capped city and a winter New Years Eve. All in all, I’m pretty excited

I decided to go to Boston after I met some Bostonians back in August who were on exchange at Swinburne. I’d never really thought of going on exchange while studying at university but I thought it’d be a perfect chance to travel in the US while also studying at a highly sought after university, Northeastern University.

One thing I plan to discover while I’m living in Boston – was the Boston Bun invented in Boston?

Is the Boston Bun originally from Boston?

So my blog will now also be featuring journalistic pieces as well as a travel blog that people can follow and keep up to date with what I’m up to while in the States. I hope some of the posts will make you want to embark on exchange to the US also.

 

Some places I’m keen to visit?

  • New York City
  • Washington D.C. (yay politics!)
  • Niagara Falls
  • Montreal, Canada
  • Quebec City, Canada
  • Toronto Canada
  • Philadelphia
  • Miami
  • The Bahamas and Caribbean
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • New Orleans
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Southern California region
  • San Francisco
  • Las Vegas (I’ll be considered underage in the US ☹ )
  • And Chicago

Got any other recommendations to visit or tips on surviving the US? Let me know in the comments!

One More Year

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At a party with some friends

Benjamin Hansen – @ben_hansen

One more year has passed. One more to go.

It’s crazy how fast time flies; it only felt like I was starting my first semester of my degree a few months ago, now I’ve completed four semesters with only two more to go.

I can now call myself a final year journo student, crazy huh? And yes I have already updated my Twitter bio 😛

I’m now on my second day of holidays and enjoying being able to sit back, relax and not have to worry about writing another essay, news article, or read another darn text book. It’s all over for a couple of months – I can finally take down my study schedule and classes timetable!

I had a premature holiday moment when several of my friends and myself went for a night trip down to the coastal town of Torquay, it was good fun, but I had to come back to the city and finish off my politics essay the next day. Not cool I know, but I got it finished.

I’m heading to Sydney this week with some friends, and have no idea when we’ll be back, that’s the bliss of having a car and a friend who you can stay with up there.

It won’t be long before I’m off back to my parents for Christmas, and then my next big ‘thing’ – which you’ll hear about in my next post – and then classes will be back on.

Want a clue about my next big thing? Here you go.

By the way, if you’re looking for some decent coffee in Melbourne CBD and surrounds, check out Bean Here Melbourne!

Gay Marriage In Victoria

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Should gay marriage be legalised in Victoria?

Benjamin Hansen – @ben_hansen

Super Student

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Tracking Baltimore’s Addict
Photo: Colin Cosier

Benjamin Hansen – @ben_hansen

Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in the Media Super Student Journalist of the Year awards, however I don’t plan on giving up there. There’s plenty more opportunities out there for a budding journalist!

The winner of the competition Colin Cosier, is a postgrad University of Technology Sydney student. His winning piece, titled Tracking Baltimore’s Addicts impressed judges Marcus Strom (Deputy foreign editor, Sydney Morning Herald), Conor Duffy (National environment reporter, ABC TV) and John Connell (Freelance).

“Colin’s piece showed a high level of professionalism, independent thinking and get up and go. It was well shot, edited and written. Colin’s use of data visualisation broke down complex issues and figures and his interviewees were well chosen and placed,” the judges said.

You can watch Colin Cosier’s piece Tracking Baltimore’s Addicts below.

Week One Roundup

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Next Exit!
Photo: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Benjamin Hansen – @ben_hansen

So the day arrived!

This past Monday, the 18th of June, I started my first internship as a journalist at Key Media’s Sydney based magazine Your Investment Property. A magazine, like the title suggests, focussing on investment in the property market. The magazine also features the stories of readers who have invested in property after reading an issue and had success in the market.

On my first day I was thrown straight in. After arriving and going through the usual occupational, health and safety ‘stuff’. I was then shown my desk and assigned to writing a feature on a man from northern Queensland who had had success after his first attempt at investing in the property market. A little bit nervous about being thrown into the deep end, but I put on my floaties and tried my best to get the most newsworthy information out’ve the interview I was given.

My second and third days involved writing small ~300 word articles on one suburb for each state and territory of Australia that would be included in each corresponding state’s monthly roundup. This involved contacting real estate agents and asking them questions on investment in the area, as well as reasons why potential investors should spend their money in that suburb. This was interesting and I enjoyed speaking to agents from across Australia.

That’s what I got up to this week as an investment/finance journalist intern. Who knows what the next five weeks will hold for me!

P.S: Any journalism or media students wanting to start an internship with a media company, should have a look at the blog My Interning Life as well as La Trobe University’s Upstart Magazine.

– Ben

 
Links:

Media Release Decoded

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The following is an article I was require to write as a test. I was provided with a media release from Mercer Super Trust and had an hour to produce an article that focussed on the most newsworthy topic. I was restricted to the information that was provided in the media release (no googling Mercer). I have included the media release at the end.

The Key To An Enriched Retirement

Enough super to support your retirement?
Photo: HB Financial Services

Benjamin Hansen – @ben_hansen

Retirees will see themselves outliving their retirement funds unless super trusts educate their members on ways to ensure their savings will be enough to support their retirement.

Mercer Super Trust leader, Heather Dawson said that increasing the Federal Government’s Superannuation Guarantee was one way to tackle the issue of retirees outliving their superfunds. “However, good superannuation providers also need to ensure their members know now how much they need to boost their savings.” she said.

A survey conducted by Mercer, also indicated that one in five Australians did not know where their funds were invested, with the same percentage unsure of the tax benefits of having a superfund.

Indicating lack of knowledge as a reason for unpreparedness, Ms. Dawson said that 27 percent of members with low-level knowledge on superfunds were prepared for retirement, compared to 71 percent of members with high-level knowledge of super.

Ms. Dawson believed that retirement funds should have standard investment options that would ensure the fund lasted the member’s entire post-retirement life, rather than a portion of retirement.

Also stating that superfunds needed to educate their members on the benefits of investing and what lack of investment could mean later in life.

“Super funds need to provide members with forecasts of their income in retirement including the impact of different investment strategies, changes in income and contribution patterns and stock market movements.” Ms. Dawson said.

The Mercer Super Trust leader later said that she understood superfunds could not educate all members, “so there is a responsibility to ensure the range of investment options and products available include automatic or default settings that protect members throughout their lives.”

Mercer media release:
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