Forests, culture and development in indigenous Panama

Notes from the field

Master’s biology student Divya Sharma recently spent a semester living in the community of Piriatí-Emberá in eastern Panama, among the Emberá, one of the country’s main indigenous groups. In her own words, Sharma writes about being witness to a community as it tries to plot a course for its future.

Hot Cities 2014: From camping on the Gobi Desert to touring the Gangnam financial district

Notes from the field

“If a year ago someone told me I’d be spending my spring break camping in the Gobi desert, 30 degrees below zero, I probably wouldn’t believe them,” writes U3 International Management BComm student Sabrina Ostrowski. “Yet ‘expect the unexpected’ seems to be the tagline for the week we experienced during the sixth edition of the Hot Cities of the World Tour, led by Professor Karl Moore.”

Culinary roadshow across Panama: Fieldwork has delicious perks

Notes from the field

While mapping agricultural land uses in Eastern Panama as part of Catherine Potvin’s lab a pair of McGill undergraduates got to live with local people. The experience, the duo say, gave them unique insight into people’s everyday lives and, more importantly, into their kitchens.

Shanghai and the real world

Notes from the field

Last month, I was at a colleague’s apartment celebrating his recent marriage in Montreal to a Shanghainese woman he met through work. When their wedding pictures came on display on the flat screen, I immediately closed my eyes. The image of the green lawn, two-story house, and teenagers with blue hair was a sharp reminder that soon, I’ll be leaving behind the city coined “the Paris of China.”

Not your typical day at McGill

Notes from the field

On Thursday, Oct. 24, 44 McGill MBA students and their professors started at it earlier than normal, assembling at 5:45 a.m. at Trudeau Airport for a 2+ hour chartered flight to visit the Iron Ore Company of Canada mine in Labrador City, Labrador. This was not going to be a typical day at McGill.

A home away from home in rural India

Notes from the field

Gaëlle Perrin and Carmina Ravanera, two U3 students majoring in International Development Studies, write about their summer internship in India and the lifelong friendships they formed with a husband and wife who opened their home – and their hearts – to a pair of total strangers.

Luces, cámara, acción!

Notes from the field

Undergraduate biology student Anthony Sardain writes about a unique project that brings together disparate – and sometimes feuding – Panamanian indigenous groups to teach them how to make a documentary as a team. The hope is that, during the process, they will learn more about each other – and themselves. How can filmmaking build bridge and help protect indigenous populations that are in the midst of a cultural crisis? Read on to find out.

Expedition Kuna: a tropical rainforest forgotten by time

Notes from the field

Earlier this summer, M.Sc. student Ira Sutherland became the first westerner to explore a remote rainforest in eastern Panama, braving poisonous snakes, scorpions and killer bees along the way.

Mountains, motorbikes and mapping change

Notes from the field

A trio of human geographers reflect on their fieldwork with ethnic minority Hmong and Yao in northern Vietnam this past summer.

Misstep turns Ugandan internship into journey of self discovery

Notes from the field

A single misstep during her internship in Uganda this summer could have turned International Development Studies student Annaliese Snodgrass’ experience into a nightmare. Instead it made her stronger.