by 2019 Global HERizons Scholarship Winner Stacey Haugen
September has been a whirlwind of moving and settling into a new city and school. Moving back to my hometown – Camrose, Alberta – and traveling into Edmonton for my studies as I begin my PhD, I drive through familiar rural places and landscapes every day.
My rural development class has been the highlight of my studies so far and I’m learning a lot about the history and trajectory of rural people and places. Although I just started my program, I am already submitting grant applications for fieldwork funding and my classes are providing important background for my rural research project.
In the first week of October, I also attended the Canadian Rural Revitalization Conference in St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador. I was struck by the beauty of the rugged coastline and how different the rural landscapes are from the prairie rural that I know so well. At the conference, I presented a book chapter I am currently working on which considers rural citizenship through the perspectives of rural refugee newcomers. I received feedback on my presentation, participated in engaging conversations around rural development, and made valuable connections with others working on similar rural issues. Specifically, I connected with a conference participant working on a rural pilot project with refugees and learned about a new visual methodological approach that positions participants at the center of research projects.
As I start the second half of my first semester, I’m looking forward to completing grant proposals, learning everything I can from class seminars and assignments, and continuing to develop my research outline and proposal about refugee resettlement in rural Canada.