Jacqueline Kantor MOJ class of 2012.
by Julia Cabrera
Jacqueline Kantor knew she wanted to study abroad in an Arabic-speaking country after taking two years of the language in college. Once she found out about the Moroccan Journalism Program(MOJ), she said it was the obvious choice. Four years later, she returns to the African Kingdom frequently filing articles for publications such as The Washington Post, Pacific Standard and IRunfar.
“I am finding that traveling alone and freelancing are both incredibly difficult and exhilarating, but it’s worth the challenge. I love exploring a new country, and I love reporting, so I consider myself very lucky to do both on a daily basis,” she said.
Kantor was a student in the very first semester of SIT’s Morocco Journalism Program. Apart from the valuable lessons in independence, solo travel and fleeing one’s comfort zone that the opportunity taught her, her time abroad was an infinite run of firsts. According to Kantor, it was her first time pitching a story, working with a fixer and traveling as “official press” among other experiences.
“My MOJ semester was without a doubt one of the best experiences I’ve had so far and had a massive impact on who I am, what I do and how I approach situations,” she said.
Kantor graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a double minor in geography and creative writing from The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 2013. After graduation, the Maryland native worked part time as a high school sports reporter for the Washington Post. She then spent a year working as a sports reporter in central Pennsylvania, and in November 2015 she quit her job to travel as a freelance journalist. She left the US in January and has since then traveled to Israel, Jordan, Palestine, France and Morocco following stories.
Kantor still keeps in contact with friends she made in the MOJ program. They meet up from time to time in different parts of the world to catch up and occasionally help each other cover stories. Recently Kantor covered the Marathon Des Sables in Marrakesh. She will soon return to Morocco, after a few weeks of traveling with friends, to cover a race in the Atlas Mountains. After the race she will continue her hunt for stories through Greece and Turkey.
In ten years, Kantor dreams of a staff job at a financially stable publication where she can report on stories that she truly cares about and have a team that encourages her to grow as a writer and reporter.
To the current and future Classes of MOJ, Kantor says; “Never give anyone reason to doubt your experience or your maturity. There is no set road map for how you approach your career or your life, and no one can decide what’s best beside yourself.”
To the future female journalists she said, “You will get treated differently, and you will have to stand your ground and kick ass quietly and graciously. “