Friday, October 5, 2012

Research Update

I have been in Ukraine for almost three weeks and I am still dealing with some bureaucratic stuff related to my visa but I have been able to make some progress in other areas. The director of the organization that I am working with for my participant observation is taking exams at the moment so my start date there has been pushed back until her exams are done. These kinds of things always happen in fieldwork and is one of the reasons why I am glad I am here for a year because I have time to wait. Had I only scheduled a month or two this kind of setback would be debilitating to my dissertation since a large part is based on this participant observation at non-government organizations (NGOs). In the meantime I am concentrating on my classes and getting everything organized for my fieldwork. 

This week I made a contact list of all the NGOs I would like to interview throughout the country. I cross checked my list with recommendations from my contacts at the International Organization for Migration in Kyiv, the head organization of the umbrella group of anti-trafficking NGOs in Ukraine. I also started arranging meetings and writing letters of introduction in English and Russian for my upcoming research trip to Kyiv in November. On this trip I am hoping to meet with the national level NGOs and begin developing a list of people in the government and bureaucracy that I should interview. 

I am also making progress in my Gender Studies class and the readings in Russian on gender theory are less daunting every week. For my Russian language classes, a new group of exchange students arrived from China and these students have two years of Russian. I went to class with them last week and now we are pushing to try and get our own Russian class organized. All the other students in the department have no Russian and they are put into language groups according to their future majors so they can concentrate on major specific language. The exchange students and I are just here to study Russian so they don't really know what to do with us. Still, we managed to convince our teacher to make the last hour of class more difficult for us so even that aspect of things here is going better than it was last week! 

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