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Department of Environmental Sciences
Geography / Urban and Regional Studies
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yvonne.gilgen-at-unibas.ch

sekretariat-humangeographie-at-unibas.ch

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Participants 2010

Nina Schweizer

I’m currently doing my Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Hispanic studies at the University of Basel. My personal interests are photography, slow travelling, languages, music and dancing.

What I expected: I especially looked forward to getting a deep insight into a topic area which up to then was still quite unfamiliar to me. Getting to know the Indian Culture, meeting locals as well as understanding their ways of thinking and their perspectives was the first thing I expected to achieve so as to deal in an appropriate way with the subject.

Preparation: Preparation required some time but was indispensable to meet the demands of the field work. Previous lecture and preparation of interview guidelines also helped to save some hours work in India and invest the time in practical aspects.

General impressions: One the one hand I learnt a lot regarding our topic, on the other hand I got to know well a new culture and last but not least: it was an unforgettable life experience broadening my horizons. Of course, there were difficulties such as the sometimes different handling of organization or the unusual climatic conditions. Retrospectively I’m happy to recognize that I’m able to deal with such situations, although I have to admit that three months is still a short time to affirm this.

Empirical study: The main and most interesting part comprised nine interviews with women representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions. I was surprised at the huge differences between the life standard, opinion, perspectives and personalities of the women. Analyzing the case studies helped to confirm theoretical findings and put new aspects into question. Here, the NGO workers and there local knowledge were very helpful

Personal Conclusion and Recommendation: It was an unforgettable and useful experience for my studies but also for life experience. Having seen the on-site reality has changed my impression of India and cleared some aspects. Such an internship is recommendable to every interested student because it does not only allow applying geographical knowledge, there is also the possibility to widen one’s horizon, work in another language and gain practical work experience.