24 October 2008

Exams over, now on to the next period

I've finished my last exam for this period today and I think they went pretty well. All of the exams have a three hour time limit which I didn't think twice about. At SDSU it's about the same, but nobody ever uses the entire time; here it's a little different. The exams, ranging from 8 to 3 questions, took between two and three hours. They were fine though; I like having the space and time to reason out my answers rather than choose the best possible choice out of four. The professors had some problems though. The first exam was delayed because the professor went to the wrong room (wrong building for that matter), the second delayed because the professor forgot paper, and the third delayed because the profesor thought it was at 2 rather than 9.

Anyways, they're done now and I'm on to period two next week. I'll be taking a course on research methodology and one on the sociology of rural change; I already have the readings so I'll be back to work later today I think. Progress on my thesis and internship is still slow, but moving along. I've had a few discussion with various researchers involved with quinoa and coca and I'm starting to lean towards quinoa as a topic. I will likely study how production has changed to accomodate greater production for export or the effects of another intervention (eg. fair trade, farmer field schools, etc.). The researchers that I have been talking with have voiced their concerns, but also support for a project on coca. The problem is that after many years of eradication projects the locals are quite reluctant to discuss coca to any extent. This problem is much worse for me simply because I'm American. They have said that research in the area could be very useful, but that a master thesis may not be enough time to gain enough trust with locals to conduct a quality study. As far as my internship, I've applied to IFAD in Rome and will probably apply to USAID as well. An idea that I've been tossing around is to go back to Ghana and do a research internship with the Sustainable Tree Crops Program. The people there were very helpful and they've expressed an interest in me coming back for a study. We'll try to be flexable and see how things work out.

Amanda won't be coming up to Wageningen until Tuesday (she originally planned on Saturday) because the reservation cost over 200 euros! When I reserve a seat here it costs 10-15 euros so I don't know if it's French taxes or what. She'll probably really enjoy herself in my apartment while I'm in class Wednesday, but we'll go to Amsterdam on the weekend to see the sights there.

Oh, and of course the results of our first edition of Where is Amanda or Andrew?! The answers are below. The winner, by quite a margin, is my former brother Pete. You have until 1 Nov. to pick up your LARGE CASH PRIZE at my apartment; don't forget your raincoat.
1. Cusco, Peru
2. Bordeaux, France
3. Boston, United States

Thanks for reading and I'll see you soon Pete, Andrew


  1. Sorry, Andrew, but your answers are wrong. Here are the correct answers.

    1)my summer home
    2)Union County Fair
    3)somewhere that they decided to make a statue of me for some crazy reason.

  2. Oh my dear misguided brother.
    I tell you what, if you get here by 1 November the LARGE CASH PRIZE is yours. Sorry Pete, but family comes first.