15 May 2011

McLeod Ganj . . . Or is it Dharamsala?

As the title suggests, I'm not exactly sure if the locals refer to their hometown as McLeod Ganj or Dharamsala.  I've seen and heard both all over.  Ah well, small potatoes. 

I haven't started up my project yet, but here are some of the potential problems I'm noticing:
  1. Location of TCV.  I think it might be far-ish away, and I can't easily afford daily transportation.  I am planning to take a rickshaw there tomorrow and see if it will be feasible
  2. Language barriers.  These I definitely underestimated--I was confident because of Norbu, Phuntsok, and some other contacts that English wouldn't usually be a problem, but I've had some communication problems with my host uncle who speaks English really well.  The best course of action may be to read through my interview question with a bilingual, like my host uncle or Norbu, and see if they would make sense to the average TCV employee.  Or maybe I'll just pilot an interview with Nobu and test both the time it takes and the clarity of the questions.  (I don't want to overburden Norbu, either--I think I'll do a pilot interview with him and then give him some time off from heavy-duty helping me)
  3. Survey language barriers.  I was always planning to translate the survey into Tibetan, backtranslate, and then distribute (which could be a really time-consuming process, especially considering that the survey is still incomplete), but I'm now concerned about translating the answers the students write.  That's something I hadn't thought of before, oddly enough
  4. Having time for everything.  It's my second day in McLeod and I'm already feeling pressed for time.  It probably has to do with the Honors thesis proposal, which I should have had ready by now, and the fact that my course work is entirely independent from my project. 
I'm a bit unsure as to what my next blog posts will be, I think I will be using this blog for both project purposes and classwork purposes. Personal stories and insights are mainly for my emails home and my journal, but when you add field notes, jottings, and analysis and reflection for my literature and writing classes, the writing piles up and looks quite daunting.  We'll see where this goes soon enough :)


  1. Give us a little insight with this fun project at least! Good luck with everything! I'm sure things will work out well!

  2. Oh Kristen, I'm so glad that there is someone else here in Mcleod/Dharamsala who is trying to figure out how to balance time, blogging, and the general shock of being here. I too have felt pressed for time. Have you figured out your thesis proposal yet? I'd like to brain storm with you. I'm back at square one....

    Hope to run into you later today! You have my number. Let's go over those survey questions.

  3. Hey Sean, the project is coming along and I have done some participant observation, intentionally and unintentionally, but I'm still working out what will be appropriate to post on my blog since I am the only one authorized to have access to the raw data. I'm sorry I'm slow; it will happen soon!

    Rachel, we can talk about the thesis proposal whenever you want to. You could come out to the school with me one day and we could work it out :)