Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad in Malawi

Posted in External Fellowships and Awards

Sara Fischer, a PhD candidate in the Department of Government, shared this fun memory with us from her time in Malawi while funded by the US Department of Education’s Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) program. This award supports research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies for a period of 6 to 12 months. The types of projects that are considered for this scholarship include projects that deepen research knowledge on and help the nation develop capabilities in areas of the world not generally included in U.S. curricula.

Sara Fischer

“Thanks to a generous Fulbright-Hays DDRA award, I recently spent 12 months (2019-2020) in Malawi conducting ethnographic fieldwork for my doctoral dissertation on the politics of community health. Because ethnography is so participant intensive, I made some very close friends among those with whom I spent the most time. Therefore, when I had to move from the first district in my study to the second, I wanted to show my gratitude towards these research participant anzanga (friends in Chichewa), and invited some over for a lunch party at my home. The planning and preparation was very stressful: trying to get everyone to my house; cooking one large pot of rice and then finding out halfway through that it wasn’t nearly enough; being vegetarian but feeling culturally obligated to provide meat; not having any drinks in the house and sending my roommate running to the store to help me while I frantically cooked; etc. Despite the (self-imposed) pressure, the party itself was lovely. We all chatted, ate, and ended up having a dance party on the khonde (veranda) and front lawn to popular African tunes, taking selfies and videos to share on our WhatsApp stories. I never would have imagined a day like this during the research process, but it is now one of my most cherished memories from my time in the field.”