Experiences field study Anne Sustronk
As part of the minor ‘Sustainable development in developing countries’ I have been working on a bio-ethanol project in India for three months. This project is about the production of ethanol from cashew juice and about using the produced ethanol as cooking fuel. My task was technical and social, but this really depends on the things you like and the assignment you get from your company/association. The technical part was about the improvement of a small scale distillation column. The social part was very useful to put everything in perspective. My supervisors asked me to develop a questionnaire that could be used during an ethanol cookstove investigation. As part of the minor I have used this questionnaire to get an impression of the living situation of women in the villages around the campus where the office is located. It was very nice to go to these villages and talk with the women. They were very friendly and did not mind at all to answer my questions.
The Indian culture is very different from the culture we are used to in the Netherlands. There are many contradictions and there is always something to see, smell, hear, etcetera. When you are going to India, you need to be aware of the differences. However, the country study (which is a compulsory part of the field study) is a very useful tool to prepare yourself.