One of my main goals for the course in Peru was to learn how to work and communicate with others from different parts of the world and at different stages in their education or career. My nerves boarding my flight on my way to Peru was skyrocketing. Would I, a first-year master student, be able to contribute at all to the research that was about to happen? How did I even manage to join this course? It was truly some imposter-syndrome happening when I stepped out of the airport in Cuzco. But as it turns out, I could contribute to the research.
Even in the first days my confidence rouse. Working with researchers was highly motivating, especially when I was questioned in larger groups. It really forced me to come out of my shell, but also made me more critical of my own opinions as well as others. Even though my main goal was to interact more with other researchers, I did not only reach my goal, I gained confidence, knowledge and more of a critical mindset.
Another goal I had was to finally be able to apply my R knowledge, but Covid-19 had other plans. Since I was one of the first to leave Peru after the lockdown I had to do the rest of the course remote, which is a bit hard when you are supposed to work in R, but have very limited R-skills. Sadly, I have not realized this goal of getting better in R during this course, but I have a course coming up in just a few weeks where I will get a hang of it. Hope is not lost!
I did reach some goals and had to postpone some because of Covid-19, but I did learn a whole lot about fieldwork, labwork, and myself. One major thing is that I realized that I do know a whole lot more than I think, so maybe it was not just a really big coincidence that I got to join the course. I also learned that I can stay calm and work until the very end even though the world is “falling apart”.
This course opened my eyes and motivated me even more to pursue a career in research. Working across boarders and educational levels gave me knowledge that is impossible to find elsewhere, and for that I am forever grateful. I wish we could have avoided the dramatic end to it, because I was just starting to peek out of my shell when I had to go home. But putting Covid-19 aside, it is hands down the best course I have ever attended.