Robert Eveson is an International Relations of the Americas MSc student (2018/19). Here he tells us about his fieldwork trip to Washington D.C.
I spent 3 weeks in Washington D.C. carrying out interviews with representatives from the Organization of American States (OAS) about the response of the organisation to recent democratic breakdowns in the Americas. I had arranged 4 or 5 before I travelled and I also managed to arrange extra interviews whilst I was there.
I wanted to go to D.C. as I felt it would be an interesting addition to my dissertation - it was something that had not really been done before in previous literature. I also wanted to do something exciting and distinct for my project as well as the usual research required in a dissertation.
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and I felt I developed several skills - interview technique, Atlanta, Georgia, USA patience and effective planning to name a few. Also, my confidence working and researching in Spanish was boosted as about half of the interviews were conducted in Spanish.
My time in D.C. was great. Everyone was really happy to help and I discovered some really useful information that I otherwise would not have found. The case studies I was covering were on going at the time, so one of my interviewees arranged for me to sit in on a Permanent Council meeting that concerned one of the cases. It was so interesting to listen to the meeting from the gallery and it made me feel more connected to what I was writing about.
I was also able to see a lot of the famous museums and monuments D.C. whilst I was there – the National Museum of American History being my particular favourite. I attended 2 baseball games and I also took part in some running races, which meant I was able to meet people and experience a side to D.C. that is different to what visitors usually see.