“Field” Research

I have a friend who studied abroad in Germany last year at the same time I was in France, and we were talking once about our experiences adapting to a different culture and learning the language. He said that one of the best things about being in Germany was that if he didn’t understand a grammatical structure or if he didn’t know a word, he could just stop a random person and ask them to explain it or translate it for him. When he said that to me, as obvious as it seems, I looked at him bewildered. The idea of just telling everyone that I was American and that I didn’t speak their language ran counter to everything I had been thinking. My first day at the French universities, I was utterly terrified and desperate to appear native, but when the girl sitting next to me leaned over and asked what year I was in and if I knew anything about the professor, I turned to her and said, “I’m sorry. I’m afraid.” And that was the end of that conversation…

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Fieldwork in Ningbo

It’s a Saturday night in Ningbo, China and what am I doing?  Watching the Women’s Final of the French Open and writing an update on my research.  That is how much fun this place is…

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