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How to prepare for a successful journalism fellowship

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You embodied the ideal candidate, aced the final interview and landed the journalism fellowship of your dreams. How can you prepare to succeed as a fellow?

Patrick Butler, vice president of programs at the International Center for Journalists, gave advice for fellowship applicants in a recent IJNet live chat.

Here are suggestions for what to do when you get accepted:

Prepare ahead of time.

“If you're not a native English speaker and you're going to the U.S., start practicing with a native speaker. If you've proposed a project that you'll pursue, get as much done on it as you can ahead of time,” Butler said.

Connect with others in the program.

“You will probably have an opportunity to meet others who will be in your fellowship ‘class,’" Butler said. “Get to know them on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Share ideas.”

Be sensitive to your coworkers.

“Make sure you've prepared your bosses and colleagues. They may be resentful that you'll be away and will perceive it as a ‘vacation,' " Butler said. "Tell them about what you'll be doing on the fellowship and how it will help the news organization when you return.”

Manage expectations.

"Remember that the fellowship experience is meant to further your career," Butler said. "Don’t think of it as taking time off from your career, think of it (and explain it to your boss) as enhancing your career."

Treat the fellowship as you would a job.

“Meet your deadlines. If there's an online component to the course or fellowship, participate,” Butler said. “Show everyone how serious you are even before the fellowship or training begins.”

Photo CC-licensed on Flickr via Aramil Liadon.

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