Reisebrev fra Griffith University
Skrevet av Anneke Kneppers
What started to be a social experience full of networking, ended up being a whole different kind of experience, nonetheless very inspiring! My first month at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, was all about meeting people, starting with my temporary supervisor Parlo Singh. Being a big name in the field and having worked with Basil Bernstein himself, I was quite nervous about meeting her. Would I be knowledgeable enough or would I come across as ignorant? Luckily Parlo turned out to be an amiable person who enjoys working with her big group of international PhD students and was determined to help me having a good experience. She introduced me to many people the following weeks, arranged meetings and set up school visits for me. At one point I was afraid I would not be able to do any writing for my thesis. But as she said ‘that’s what it’s all about!’. And I could not agree more – broadening my horizon by meeting all sorts of people and talking about my own project but moreover about their projects and about the ways of doing research in the host country. That is the unique thing about it.
Unfortunately, after a month the COVID-19 restrictions made its appearance in Australia and I had to start working from home. So it turned out I would be getting some time for writing after all. Regular meetings with Parlo continued online where we talked about my work and where she generously provided me with her insights. We also continued having fortnightly meetings with a reading group consisting of professors and PhD students from Australia, China, Chile and Brazil. We committed to reading some difficult pieces on Bernstein, Foucault and other sociologists. Although these 2-hour meetings were intense and exhausting, I looked forward to them. It was a moment to connect with like-minded people and get the motivation and courage to read and understand difficult readings.
This experience has emphasized for me how important it is to connect with people. It has been of immense value to my project and my personal and professional development. And the international collaboration continues – as the reading group meetings are happening online now, I will be able to keep attending them. We also agreed on meeting at an education conference in Europe in the future!