EUROSUD students may apply for funding for activities linked to the programme and/or their related career development that reflect the ethos and learning objectives of the degree programme. Below, we hear from Laura, one of our Research Track students, on how she was able to conduct field research in Italy for her Master’s thesis. 

Thanks to financial support from the EUROSUD Study and Career Development Fund, I conducted field research in Italy for my Master’s thesis. As a student of the research track, I am currently in the process of writing my dissertation in the fourth and last semester of the EUROSUD program. My topic is how the Italian North-South divide and the stereotypes associated with it affect the lives of students.

Since I studied Italian as a subject in school, this issue drew my attention from a young age. Thus, in my undergraduate thesis, I already decided to write about this divide and its representation in Italian cinema. While writing the thesis, I realized a literature gap regarding stereotypes and how they affect young individuals. Thus, I decided for my master’s dissertation to bridge this gap by conducting fieldwork. For this, I spent two weeks at an Italian university both in the north in Padova near Venice and in the south in Catania in Sicily.

As a research method, I conducted individual interviews and focus group discussions with students from different faculties on-site. I recruited participants by approaching students directly at various faculties and by presenting my project in lectures. I am very pleased with how it went, as I found significantly more participants than I had set as a goal and the results are very interesting. Overall, it was an intensive time in which I learned a lot, both about the North-South divide and about conducting field research. This experience broadened my horizons, deepened my understanding of different cultures, and enriched my personal and professional development. Therefore, I can only recommend to everyone to leave their comfort zone and take the opportunity to do field research during the Master’s thesis.

I am very grateful that the students gave me their time as well as their trust and shared their thoughts with me. In addition, a special thanks go to the Departments of Political Science of both Universities of Padova and Catania for their support in the research by connecting me with students and providing me with rooms. Above all, I am beyond thankful to the Career Development Fund for giving me this opportunity! Now it’s time to analyze the results and write that thesis!

By Laura Sophie Wiegele