Stepping Out of the Bubble

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    By Jessica Mallard

    Students will present their field research and experiences from all over the world, Wednesday through Friday (March 1-3, 2006), at the 8th annual International Inquiry Conference.

    “It was the hardest thing of my life, but it was the most wonderful thing of my life,” said Kristine Whipple, an anthropology major from Bountiful. “It was amazing.”

    Whipple recently completed a field study in Western Guatemala. She focused her studies on family relationships from an anthropological perspective. She said she thoroughly enjoyed the three months she spent among the Guatemalan people.

    “The thing I loved the most was getting to know people,” she said. “Going into another culture, speaking their language and living with them – you become a part of their reality.”

    A field study is very different from simply visiting a country because you actually live with the people, interact with them daily, see them in their various roles and get to know them on a personal basis, Whipple said.

    “It is amazing what you can learn by getting up with the women and watching them cook breakfast and sitting around at dinner while the family tells stories,” she said. “You really see people the way they are by living with them.”

    Whipple presents Thursday morning, Mar. 2, 2006, and said she is really excited to share what she learned in Guatemala.

    “The conference gives us a chance to show we did something worthwhile,” she said.

    The conference is a great opportunity for those who have served missions to see the things that have taken place in the area they served, said Ashley Tolman, the conference organizer for the International Inquiry Conference.

    She said this is also an appealing event for those who have yet to explore the world abroad.

    “Nobody can really deny that globalization is overriding things, and it really does us a lot of good to be educated beyond our own borders,” Tolman said.

    The students that go out into the world and participate in field studies are up against language barriers and established cultural norms, which can make it difficult, said Amy Dawson, conference advertiser.

    “I am impressed with the kind of people who can get out there and do a field study,” Dawson said. “They really have to dig deep to find the answers they are looking for.”

    Europe and Asia will be the focus of the conference Wednesday, Latin America on Thursday and Africa on Friday. Everyone is invited to attend the conference. It will begin at 11 a.m. and conclude around 3:30 p.m. in 238 of the HRCB.

    For more information, students can visit kennedy.byu.edu/events/inquiryconf.php.

    (For comments, e-mail Jess Mallard at )

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