Thesis with a Fieldwork Abroad
As you have seen in this student blog and our Instagram feed, many of the digital ambassadors are living with the master thesis lately. Waking up to the smell of literature review, having fika of data collection, lunch is not complete without e-mail threads from the supervisor, a supper goes along with data analysis and then going to bed with another to-do list singing a lullaby. You have no idea how many post-its notes are harmed during this time. At least, I experienced it all with a chill vibe.
A trivial question, what do I, Elke, and Anita have in common? The answer is that the three of us study in the development area and have a fieldwork for our theses. Read the story of Elke and Anita on their experiences and tips for fieldwork – which you should definitely check out. Right now, I am going to share my story real-time, as I am currently in the field to collect data for my master thesis. Where am I? I am in Anita’s home country, Kenya! So now, I have been drinking coconuts and nibbling on pineapples for fika. If you are taking the thesis course with 30 ECTS (credits), like me, these four months of doing the thesis will pass by quickly. I said quickly, not merrily. However, going for a fieldwork project is not exclusively for students in Sweden who studies development.
In fact, my colleague in the same project is studying engineering in KTH. Also, I know an acquaintance, studying architecture at Chalmers University, who just got back to Sweden after a fieldwork in Kenya. The countries for your fieldwork project are not limited. Some of my friends do their thesis project in Germany, Greece, Costa Rica, Cambodia, and more. Then you ask, what are the advantages of doing your thesis project abroad? Here are my answers:
Expands your horizon
By studying in Sweden, you already expand your world because of the international academic culture. Despite this fact, I do believe that it never hurt to make new friends, open your mind, and gain new insight. In the project that I am working covers a multidisciplinary topic, so I get to connect with the experts in their field and learn from the best. Swedish government and universities often participate in many research around the world, it means that when you study in Sweden you create so many bridges to these research projects. Be it for a thesis project, internship or research assistant opportunity after your graduation.
Get the best of both world
Remember Hannah Montana? Yes, you get the best in both world if you do a fieldwork. I like being practical, out in the field, and meet people – these are what I get from the fieldwork. Nonetheless, I do enjoy writing and being in my own head such as when I write my thesis and this blog post. Although, the first is not as enjoyable as the latter, ha! I learn things best when I am doing it so by doing a fieldwork, I immerse in the project and gain more understanding. This is necessary for a researcher/designer.
Escape the Swedish winter
I left Sweden around a month ago when the sunshine was still a rare thing. I heard that it becomes warmer now, but it cannot be as warm as the coastal area where I stay at the moment. Imagine having 28 °C on average with sunshine all day long. I cannot blame the weather when I feel the urge to procrastinate my thesis work, at least there is one sad thing about it.
A kickstart in your career
I was a product designer before I pursue my master study, and I knew that I want to be a different kind of designer – a design researcher. Gladly, everything that I experienced and learned for the last one and a half years led me to a point where I get to know how does being a design researcher like. In a world with globalization, I think it makes more sense as well to make new acquaintances across the globe because collaboration knows no geographical boundaries. Imagine the good impact that you can have for society as a result of your collaborative project! I believe that a life worth living is the one where you give meaning to it.
Congratulations for you to have read this post until the end, I would love to know your opinion (or experience) about doing fieldwork abroad. Shall we discuss in the comment section below?