TransAtlantic life and research
My new four-year research project on migrant children in Polish schools means that I travel frequently between Poznań, Poland, the city and country of my birth, and Washington, DC, my adopted hometown. Since the summer of 2022 when I received the grant to conduct this research and (almost) March, 2023, I crossed the Atlantic six times. Before 2023 ends, I will make two or three additional trips over the Atlantic Ocean.
The travel is not always the easiest, jet lag and turbulence are real! Did I mention how much I hate turbulence! But I enjoy the project and love my team composed of my friend who serves as a senior researcher, a postdoc, and two doctoral students.
The project officially started on October 3, 2022. Gaining ethics approval for research with children is never easy, but this time around it was a particularly lengthy process. Ethics Committees are new in Poland; they are set up at the discretion of rectors of individual universities. The Polish National Foundation (NCN) requires that all of the projects they fund have ethic clearance. The Adam Mickiewicz University, my alma mater, does have an Ethics Committee but there is no single anthropologist or a social scientist that has experience conducting qualitative research with migrants, children or adults. Educating the committee members about conducting ethnographic interviews was quite a challenge. Sigh...