Figure 1. Jessie, ISS-LTC Media Specialist

As a student from Shanghai, China, I was just like many other international students studying in the United States; I felt strange when I first arrived. Almost all of my understanding of American culture was based on American TV shows, but it is a little bit different when facing the real society here. To get to know more about American culture, and to get involved with native speakers instead of taking math classes and talking Mandarin with my classmates all day, I found a job in the ISS Media Center. I took a job as a media production assistant because it is something I’m already familiar with.

I was a photographer taking pictures for events in my high school in Shanghai, and I started to get familiar with editing when I was a Freshmen at the University in Taiwan. I found photography fascinating. Although I have some experience with media production, I found things were totally different my first day of work in the ISS Media Center.

The first thing I realized is that American culture places a higher value on media production compared to my previous experiences in Taiwan and Shanghai. On my first day in ISS, Mr. Jackson, my supervisor, interviewed me and took me on a tour around the ISS department. The scale of the loan center shocked me a little bit. There are many types of cameras and any LSA student can come to the Media Center to rent one for their classes, organizations, or even their own needs.  Students can choose professional or nonprofessional equipment depending on their needs. The front desk personnel are all well trained and can answer any questions about the equipment. And if you have more advanced questions about media production, you can always ask an ISS media assistant. I found that here, in America, expensive equipment is more accessible to the students who have interest in the media field. I think the reason for this is because of the cultural differences. I learned from my experience that in my culture, people don’t value media production as much as they do in America.

Figure 2. Jessie (left) working with other members of the ISS-LTC Media group on a faculty video shoot.

Other experiences have also proved how much American society values media production. Despite the scale of the loan center, the systematic workflow in the ISS Media Center impressed me. Since we are mainly using Adobe Premiere to edit videos, the workflow of Premiere is always posted on the wall to make sure every media assistant does the video in the same way. This is especially helpful if one assistant has to take over a task from another. And every video we have edited will be registered on file along with the editor’s name, date, and other key information. All the videos will be posted to M+Box for patrons to view and for consultants or managers to check the work.  From the well-organized media production room, you can tell that this place has been through a step-by-step process to achieve today’s well-organized status. So as you can see, there are very detailed processes for every single video project to make high quality media.

I believe it has been a good decision for me to work here in the ISS Media Center.  While I was familiar with the field of media productions, my experience working for ISS turned out to be very different from my own culture. I have to say that I admire the United State’s well-developed system in the field of media production.