December 1, 2016

Meet Me in St. Louis

An Interview with Irene Bronsvoort (UvA)

1. Tell me about your time in St. Louis. What have you enjoyed most? What was the most difficult aspect of being here?

What I enjoyed most about being in St. Louis is the easy interaction with other people, both on- and off campus. In my experience, people here are incredibly nice, easy to talk to and helpful. It's interesting to see how professional and social lives often blend into each other at Washington University. 

What I found most difficult here was the lack of mobility and close-by facilities in St. Louis. Especially in the beginning, I felt to be dependent on people with a car here in St. Louis. The upside is that people with a car here are often very willing to give you a ride. 

2. Tell me about your experience of being a scholar in residence at Washington University in St. Louis

I really enjoyed my time at Washington University in St. Louis this semester. The administrative staff, faculty members and other students made me feel at home and were very helpful. I was intrigued by the 'culture of peer reviewing' in the Anthropology department, by which I mean the many meetings that are organized to give each other feedback and the readiness of students to help improve each other's work. Working as a teaching assistant in the sociology department was a great experience too!  I got to be part of the new Sociology Department and through the course I learned a great deal about American cities.

3. To future participants in the program, what advice do you have about this leg of the 3-destination journey? 

I would advise you to get in touch with one of the program coordinators and talk to them about your personal situation to see if the TAF program is something for you. Being a non-PhD student participant myself, I can say that there are many opportunities and the program can in many ways be customized to fit your own needs and goals.  

4. What aspect of your experience in St. Louis surprised you the most? Any part of your time here that you did not anticipate beforehand?

I was happily surprised by the amazing campus at Washington University, with its beautiful buildings and lawns and the impressive sports facilities. Something I did not anticipate is the cost of living in St. Louis and in the U.S. in general. Although St. Louis is relatively affordable compared to other cities that I visited, things like groceries, rent and gas and electricity are more expensive than in the Netherlands. 

5. Finally, list these favorites in St. Louis:

Restaurant

The pub and restaurant Three Kings Public House on Delmar Boulevard is one of my favorites in St. Louis. It's always pleasantly busy, the food is good and they have a large menu of local beers. 

Also not least important, this place is walking distance from our home, so we often go there for a drink in the evening. Another bar that I really like is Moonrise, a rooftop bar where you have a great view over the city. 

Building on campus

I like walking through the hallways of the McMillan Hall. I always bump into people I know and the walls of the building are filled with conference posters, fieldwork pictures and event flyers. The building reflects years and years of doing social science research.