UCL Institute of the Americas


Graduate Taught Fieldwork Abroad Testimonials

Nicolas Price

Latin American Politics MSc

For four weeks during the summer of 2019, I had the opportunity to undertake fieldwork in South America for my final dissertation, which looks at the integration of Haitian migrants in Chile.

had decided early on that a key component of my research would include fieldwork in Chile due to the realisation that I could only acquire key data by physically going there. I had a rich pre-existing network which I used to secure interviews with highly qualified and interesting individuals; I visited national archives and libraries to access sources that could not be found online; and I did some on-location ethnographic observation exercises which provided me with fascinating perspectives. It was, as a whole, a highly beneficial and memorable experience.

While I recognise that fieldwork research is not necessary to every dissertation, I do believe that, at the very least, it provides a level of depth and insight that would otherwise be lacking. I highly recommend anyone who comes across this opportunity to pursue it – the benefits extend far beyond the academic sphere.

John Lawrence

Globalisation and Latin American Development MSc

My dissertation project focussed on corporate governance in Peru following the introduction of a new code of conduct in 2013. I decided to visit Lima for 2 weeks to carry out interviews with professionals and financial market observers who could help me to build a realistic view of events. My aim was to interview around 20 people across a range of institutions and state agencies. I used London-based contacts and Linked-in to set up 10 interviews in the first week hoping that respondents would make referrals for the second week.

I stayed in Miraflores, which turned out to be an excellent location and I found that many interviews could be reached on foot with up to 3 -4 interviews some days. Respondents were very friendly and forthcoming and were keen to suggest other contacts so I completed 31 interviews in the 2 weeks.

The process was rather daunting – I had never interviewed professionals in Spanish before, though I was used to depth interviews in English – and my first interview was with an EY partner who invited me to give a 45-minute presentation on my project to her team before I was able to start an interview!

However, the fieldwork was essential to my understanding of the context for my project, has given me a good contact base for further research and set a realistic basis for what can be done from a standing start in other countries.