Saturday, August 4, 2012

Final Thoughts on CLS

I returned to the US on Thursday after a night of no sleep on Wednesday because we had to meet at 3 am to go to the airport. Then we had a long ten hour flight from Moscow (without working video), and a literal run through Dulles International Airport customs and US security. I didn't even have time to say goodbye to everyone since I almost missed my connecting flight. Still it is good to be home and I am enjoying all the things I missed while I was in Russia (free refills, cold drinks, people smiling and saying thanks). My final thoughts on the CLS program are that overall it definitely helped my language skills. I feel more confident speaking Russian and while I still have more work to do on my grammar and sentence structure I think I am ready to go on my fieldwork. That being said, the homework and all the excursions and class left little room for all the other work I had to do over the summer like sending articles off to journals and writing the theory chapter of my dissertation. So while it definitely helped with my language skills I am feeling behind in my professional development and I am not sure I would recommend an intensive program to someone who is ABD (All But Dissertation) like me. I don't regret going on the program, the CLS program is not designed to accompany or allow full time research, I think I just had low expectations for the amount of time everything would take. In the end I could only fit two days a week of participant observation at the NGO and I could only schedule three interviews for my research. I also didn't have time, or the days off from class to make a research trip to Moscow to interview people there. The good and bad news of this situation is that this means I will have to go back to Moscow and Kazan next year to finish up my interviews. This type of situation occurs very often in fieldwork where you think you can accomplish more than you set out to so it's doesn't stress me out too much, I just have a lot of work to do in the next month! 

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