Our Students- Goals, Experiences, and Testimonials

Intercultural Diversity
Anthropologists from different cultures carry different perspectives on our field, providing an enriching environment for exchange of ideas and opportunities.

The international character of the Malta Summer School made it a great learning experience for me. Being there, side by side with others doing their research improved my knowledge and insight of Maltese as well as of other cultures. I guess one of the things I will miss most of my Gozo experience, are the conversations on the roof terrace of mostly unexperienced anthropologists, like me, sharing their impressions of the day. These talks helped me deepen research questions and more than once provided me with new ways of approaching and understanding things. The Summerschool meant a lot for the way I feel about myself as a starting anthropologist. I am grateful to every-body who participated in my experience and to the staff for creating the opportunity to network, find out myself in the field and exploring my possibilities. These were lessons I could not have learned at home. (Marjan Moris, student in 2010, staff member since 2011)

Academic Discipline Diversity
We learn through sharing experiences with students from different academic disciplines, from anthropology and sociology to chemistry and biology. Students bring their skills and unique perspectives.

Off the Beaten Track offers students the opportunity to partake in applied anthropology and learn a bit about themselves. Hands-on ethnographic work, captivating course work and discussion, as well as insightful conversations with advisors and peers makes attending this field school a must-have experience for those interested in the social sciences. Although, I came to the field school with an anthropological background, any student can find their niche within the program. Participating in Off the Beaten Track introduced me to all the different studies and possibilities within anthropology. This field school has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate career and I am very thankful to have been a part of the program. (Lilian Zuengler, University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Academic Level Diversity
Our small group size (16 students) enables us to provide individual attention at many levels.

High School/Gap Year students
We sometimes accept students who have not yet begun university. Due to our small group size (16 students), we are able to provide individual attention at many levels.

This summer school was an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. At first I felt slightly overwhelmed, given that pretty much everyone one else in the program was a major or minor in anthropology and consequently, there was little overall direction and structure. This was difficult for me at first. However, looking back, I think the fact that I was thrown into the research process and into discussions with different people was actually really beneficial; I learned a lot about anthropology and its essence as a study in quite a short time and I'm really thankful for that experience. It was also really helpful to be able to talk with so many people who were already studying anthropology and to get a sense of what doing so would be like for me in the future. I remember one other student saying that oftentimes anthropology majors complete their entire under-graduate education without doing any field work - I feel really lucky to already have had some first-hand experience. (Erin Lueck, Concord Academy, Massachusetts)

Undergraduate students
Field experiences are often missing in the undergraduate programs. We believe that understanding of theory in context is enhanced, and the enthusiasm of budding anthropologists grows and flourishes in the field. Anthropology is an embodied science, so as anthropologists we must practice our craft. Like a carpenter building a house, if you only learned theory you would smash your fingers.

I found the Field School to be an excellent opportunity to explore anthropological research as a rising sophomore. With the help of the staff, I was able to conduct interesting and informative research on Gozo. Additionally, with the help of my Maltese friends, I was able to grow personally and learn about other ways of life more in three weeks than in an entire year of undergraduate course work. (Maxwell Weiss, Pittsburg State University)

Graduate students
Originally the program was conceived as a graduate (masters) course. Previous students used the program as the basis for their final thesis. Three weeks of focused field work takes away a lot of pressure from your graduate schedule. It helps to be supported by a group of fellow researchers.

PhD students
The island of Gozo provides opportunities to practice fieldwork, as well as to gain perspectives on a thesis topic in a new place. Many students find Gozo to be a useful case-study to incorporate into their PhD research. Semi-formal seminars and informal debates over dinner on the roof provide opportunities for students to learn together, gaining perspective and advancing the work of participants at all levels.

Even though I was a first year PhD student last summer on Gozo, Expeditions was my first real fieldwork experience! The team was very helpful in getting me to make sense of the data and impressions I was gathering daily. The staff and students were also very kind, and took care of each other like family. (Philip Kao, St. Andrews University, Scotland)

More Experiences Shared

I found the Summer School an excellent way to network and to forge ties with professors from foreign universities. I also really enjoyed my time in Gozo too, it was an unforgettable experience. (Sean O’Dubhghaill, National University of Ireland at Maynooth, Ireland)

The open-ended approach is, in my opinion, by far the best way to organize a program like this. There was plenty of opportunity to attend lectures if desired, but I never felt pressured to go. The times I did attend, I was happy with my choice. The general atmosphere -laid back but always offering some event or opportunity- was also preferable. I never felt like I was dealing with the rigors of organized schooling, but was at the same never solely on vacation. The rooms were entirely adequate, and the location was great. I would definitely recommend this course to an anthropology student. The staff was great and they seemed to pick a really good group of students. (Luke Melanagro, Ohio State University)

A real strength that the project had was the 'community' element that was introduced. Inviting locals to share their stories/food with us was such a great cultural merge and learning experience for everyone, and incredibly important for bonding us 'tourists' with the locals. The staff was very genuine and helpful, offering really useful advice to us as participants who needed this constant stream of advice. I found the regular one-to-one meetings with the professors exceptionally useful. The accommodation and its location were perfect. The meals on the roof were also something I really enjoyed, (eating out was a treat too!) especially with themed nights like making food from your own country. (Jennifer Hollstein, University of Glasgow, Scotland, student in 2009, staff member in 2011 and 2015)

The learning opportunities that I gained while in Gozo were priceless. In classrooms I've had many discussions with peers and teachers on what it means to be an anthropologist, the moral and ethical dilemmas. However, I never learned until I was in the field in Gozo who I wanted to be as an anthropologist. How it is that I go about conducting my research, how I take my notes and even how I go about initiating contact with people. The fieldwork in Gozo provided me with these learning opportunities that I would not be able to understand outside of fieldwork. For those who want to do fieldwork for the first time, the Anthropology Summer School in Malta is a great way to learn not only what it is like to be on the field, but also to learn more about who you are and what you want to be as an anthropologist. (Nathaly Vellky, Beloit College)

I have never had an educational experience that left as big of an impression on me as this school did. As a student, the school encouraged me to navigate social landscapes and challenge my notions of comfort in the most positive of ways. It enhanced my ability to critically analyze my social and spatial surroundings, and provided me with the opportunity to apply my anthropological curiosities. The school also created a space where students of various backgrounds could bond over similar challenges in the field, and learn from one another through the vital exchange of sharing information. In other words, this program means a learning experience that’s driven by collective and individual pursuits, providing students the opportunity to experience applied anthropology and challenge themselves in the process. This field school means everything that an educational environment should be, and it has accomplished this by bundling students and staff who are curious to learn, in spaces and places that are willing to teach them. (Jacob Jansen, University of Oregon)

This field school was the most rewarding experience while I pursued by bachelor’s degree in anthropology. “Cultural broker” was a term I quickly became familiar with, and patience was a virtue I learned to employ often. The field school was a struggle, and a rewarding and fruitful experience. I was able to make friends, network, further my skills as an anthropologist, and grapple with the difficulties of doing research in an area with an intense language barrier. But the field school was also a place where I could exchange ideas, and learn from the other students and staff members. It provided me with an environment where I could bounce ideas off my colleges and mentors, and gain new perspectives and ideas about methodology. In a single sentence: what the field school meant to me was a place and experience where I was able to grow as an anthropologist whilst taking risks, making mistakes, learning from them, observing my colleagues and staff, and putting myself outside my comfort zone to improve and learn more than I would have ever guessed. (Cole Kedzierski, University of Pennsylvania)