For Chad Garland (BA, ’11, Russian language and literature), reporting on the war against ISIS in Iraq requires body armor, bravery, and not a small amount of wits and wisdom—much of which he credits to his days at Illinois as he earned degrees in Russian language and literature and rhetoric.
"I'm a war correspondent mostly covering Iraq and Afghanistan. Right now (editor’s note: Garland wrote this reply in March 2017) I'm covering the battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group, which has held Iraq's second largest city since 2014. I often wake up, meet up with my team—a local driver and a translator—and head out to somewhere I think I can get a story. That might mean donning a helmet and body armor to go along with the Iraqi military and tour areas they've retaken (barely, in some cases), visiting an underground ISIS training camp, visiting a camp for families fleeing the violence, or going to an American military base to meet with troops. I interview people, take photos, and record videos. Depending on the story or the news that day, I may spend half the day out collecting information and half the day writing."
"I came to college from a fairly comfortable career because I wasn't satisfied and I wanted to try out new things and find something more rewarding. That was the best thing. I was able to take classes that challenged me and exposed me to new ideas."