It has now been several months since our time in Fengyu has ended. Although I still miss the winding village roads, delicious food, kind people, and rewarding work, it’s wonderful to have spaces on campus to continue to share the experiences we had in Fengyu with others. A few weeks ago, the Sociology Department at Dickinson College hosted an event titled “Sociology: It’s More Than You Think!” where professors, majors, and minors came together with prospective majors in order to educate them about what our department has to offer. As a smaller department, we constantly strive to educate the campus community about sociology, and specifically provide opportunities for underclassmen to learn about the major and see if they would be interested in pursuing it as a field of study.
In addition to educating the campus community about what sociology is as a discipline, we also wanted to show others about the opportunities available to sociology majors. Several students brought posters about internships they had completed, and one student brought a poster from her final project for one of our research methods courses, Quantitative Research Methods. In order to showcase off-campus research opportunities, as well as what our other main research method, Qualitative Methods, looks like, I brought the poster that my fellow research team members and I created to represent our research in Fengyu. Throughout the event, I was able to speak with students who walked up to the poster, telling them about our research there and what we found. I not only discussed the experience in Fengyu with them, but also the hard work we all completed prior to the actual research itself. Part of doing research is writing the grant application, as well as educating yourself about the place you will be going and previous research done on the topic. As a student, these are all the things that would be involved in an experience like this, something important to communicate to students who are interested in doing research. This event was overall a rich opportunity to connect with students, educate them about research opportunities at Dickinson, and expose them to research completed in an East Asian context. Like sociology, our approach to research in Fengyu was largely interdisciplinary, something I also wanted to emphasize to students that I spoke with. Sociology allows students to explore a variety of different disciplines and subjects, opening them up to new opportunities that, although may appear different to what they usually study, can always be connected. I hope that events such as this will help prepare me for the upcoming poster session at the ASIANetworks Conference that I will attend in April in San Diego.
Overall, the event was a great success. Majors, minors, faculty and new students all enjoyed snacks and beverages while discussing all of the wonderful things sociology has to offer. As one of the five members of our department’s majors committee, I was lucky enough to be able to help plan this event. It was truly rewarding to see our hard work come to fruition through a successful, enjoyable evening. I was very thankful to have the opportunity to not only talk about the discipline that I love, but also to continue to talk about the research we did in Fengyu, two things I imagine I will never get tired of talking about.