CONCLUSION: HOW TO PICK A FIELD SCHOOL THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU

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Abstract

Choosing to participate in an ethnographic or cultural anthropology field school is an important decision. There are a number of questions to consider when making a choice. These include: Know what is expected of you—what are the outcomes? What is the methodological “thrust” of the program—will you be in sync? What is the length of time of commitment—can you meet it? What is the relationship between the host community and the field school? Are you okay with it? Is there a language requirement and if so, can you meet it? How much structure is provided and what are your needs? Do you like to work independently or in a group? Would you feel most comfortable alone or in a group setting? How much day-to-day structure or supervision will you need and will you be likely to receive? Does the field school operate in a setting in which you want to be? Country? Locale? Climate? Are there any safety concerns you should consider? Will your university or college accept transfer credits if these are offered? Do you care? How much mentorship is provided? How much do you want? Is there an orientation and what does it cover? Are there prerequisites and are you adequately prepared? This chapter discusses what to think about as you try to answer these questions. To make the best choice possible, you need to think about what you wish to gain from the experience, your preferences, strengths and weaknesses. To get the most out of a field school experience, you should look for a program that challenges you to reach beyond your comfort zone, but not one that places such demands on you that you can never succeed. Because we do not often know the limits of our capacities, the key essential element for any student is the ability to be flexible, creative, and curious. If you can draw on these three characteristics, you are sure to be successful.

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