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OSEA Field Study Abroad Programs in Mexico

 

Is OSEA right for me?

The decision to enroll in a study abroad program or field school is an important one. The questions, and our responses in the second table below, can help you assess if OSEA is the right kind of field school program for you. These questions have been modified from Madelyn Iris’s “Conclusion: How to Pick a Field School That’s Right For You,” NAPA Bulletin #22 (2004: 164-168). This page is also available for download as a Word document (Download // 132kb)


What you need to ask OSEA
[OSEA answers are in next section below]
What you need to ask yourself
1 What formal outcomes are expected from field school participants? (assignments, reading, etc.)
Do you accept the responsibility for these outcomes?
2 What is expected from students in terms of their participation in the field school?
Do these expectations fit your own personality, interests and needs?
3 What is the methodological focus and orientation of the program?
Does this coincide with your own personal and intellectual preferences?
4 What is the time commitment for field school participants? A. What is the overall duration of the program? Does the duration of the program fit your own schedule?
5 What is the length of time commitment for field school participants? B. How many hours per day & per week are devoted seminars, research, rest/downtime, recreation, independent study? Does the daily and weekly commitment suit your personality and willingness to engage in the work commitments?
6 What is the relationship between the host community and the field school? Do you find this to be appropriate and does it concord with your own expectations for involvement in the life of the community?
Do you prefer to interact with the host community on an individual basis or in a group setting?
7 What are the language requirements and prerequisites? Do you satisfy these language prerequisites and can you meet these requirements?
8 What are there other course requirements and prerequisites? Do you satisfy these course prerequisites and can you meet these requirements?
9 How much and what kind of structure does the field school provide students? A. Do you like to work in a group or independently?
B. Do you feel more comfortable alone or in a group setting?
C. How much daily structure and day to day supervision and do you want and do you need?
10 Where does the program take place — in what cultural and social settings? What aspects of the program are conducted in what places? Do you want to spend time in these cultural and social settings? Are these places you want to visit and to be in?
11 What kinds of security, health, diet, climate, travel issues? Will you feel safe and comfortable in these settings and with these issues?
12 How much and what kind of guidance and mentorship are provided participants? Is this the kind and quantity of supervision that you seek?
13 Does the program have an on-site orientation period?Is there a pre-travel orientation meeting? If so, when are these and what kind of issues are discussed? What kind of an orientation do you need? What issues do I need to be covered in a more extensive manner?
14 How many course credits is the OSEA program worth? Are the OSEA credits transferable? How many course credits do I need? Do I have to transfer credits? Can I get concurrent enrollment at my home institution (ask study abroad office)?

NAPA Bulletin #22, on The Ethnographic Field School and First Fieldwork Experiences, is recommended reading for anyone interested in an ethnographic field school. NAPA (National Association for the Practice of Anthropology) is a section of the AAA (American Anthropology Association)



What you need to ask OSEA OSEA Answers
1 What formal outcomes are expected from field school participants? (assignments, reading, etc.)
Participants are expected to complete a brief reading assignment prior to arrival and to perform normal classroom activities of reading, writing, discussion, and presentations during seminar period
Participants design and conduct their own research projects; these projects result in written, final products that include various forms of documentation, description, and analysis

Research by graduate students is expected to produce materials of publishable quality
2 What is expected from students in terms of their participation in the field school?
Strong commitment & openness to experience and learn from the OSEA staff, fellow participants, host families, and other community members is required; willingness to accept responsibility and to devote time and energy to one’s learning is mandatory
3 What is the methodological focus and orientation of the program?
Training focuses on qualitative methods within a humanist framework
4 What is the time commitment for field school participants? A. What is the overall duration of the program? Winter Quarter is an 11 week program
Summer Field School varies from 4-6 weeks
5 What is the length of time commitment for field school participants? B. How many hours per day & per week are devoted seminars, research, rest/downtime, recreation, independent study? Initial period of OSEA programs are seminar based (4-5 hrs a day for 3-4 days a week, 3-4 hrs reading & study time a day); during research participants are expected to devote 4-7 hrs a day to their projects
6 What is the relationship between the host community and the field school? OSEA is total cultural and linguistic immersion; participants are expected to immerse themselves in the family and social life of the community
7 What are the language requirements and prerequisites? Summer: intermediary Spanish (1 year college)

Winter: basic Spanish (1 yr college or HS Spanish)

OSEA is not a language school, but offers Spanish coursework directed for field research use
8 What are there other course requirements and prerequisites? Minimum 1 year introductory courses to Anthropology or equivalent in Sociology, Cultural Studies, and related fields strongly recommended; waivers under special circumstances
9 How much and what kind of structure does the field school provide students? Formal structure of time and activities is provided with initial seminar period; research period requires students to create their structure with close supervision and guidance from staff.

Participants can design collaborative or individual research projects; assignments include collaboration and group activities
10 Where does the program take place — in what cultural and social settings? What aspects of the program are conducted in what places? Primary site is the semi-rural Maya community of Pisté, Yucatán, México; additional sites include the capital city Mérida and the nearby rural communities in both Yucatán & Quintana Roo
11 What kinds of security, health, diet, climate, travel issues? There are no issues regarding physical safety or security in terms of social dangers and politics. México is politically stable and safe for all foreign students. Yucatán is a major tourism destination and is well recognized for its hospitality please see health, climate, travel issues [links]
12 How much and what kind of guidance and mentorship are provided participants? Seminar activities are formally structured & designed to give participants ability to conduct independent research
Participants design their own research project, which must be meet specific requirements for the organization of time, activities, and goals;

Participants are closely supervised during independent research & meet regularly to inform each other of progress during field workshops;

One-on-one with staff always available for guidance
13 Does the program have an on-site orientation period?Is there a pre-travel orientation meeting? If so, when are these and what kind of issues are discussed? OSEA programs have an on-site orientation program dealing with all issues of housing, home stays, cultural adaptations & norms, and formal responsibilities and obligations
14 How many course credits is the OSEA program worth? Are the OSEA credits transferable? OSEA programs have variable credit offerings.

OSEA credits are transferable

Concurrent enrollment may be available at your university [credits appear directly on transcript]

 

 

 

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