Summer 2014

Daniel Garner Visits Costa Rica

In 2014, I began conducting original research under the supervision of Dr. Marjorie Snipes of the anthropology department here at the University of West Georgia. My research, titled Identity in Transition: An Ethnographic Study of Latin American Immigration to the United States, involved conducting recorded interviews, transcribing those interviews, and producing a comparative account of the experiences of Latin American immigrants living in the United States.

My experiences conducting student research were profound, but I felt that my lack of Spanish language skills would limit my ability to conduct more thorough research in the future. I decided to apply for the study abroad program in Costa Rica with the foreign languages department. I was accepted to the program, and I was also selected as a recipient of the Wolves Abroad Grant to help fund this trip. The professors of the anthropology department were extremely helpful in making this happen, as quite a few of them wrote me recommendation letters for both the study abroad program and the grant. Because of this, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in another language and culture, and I was able to become proficient at speaking Spanish with native speakers of the language.

My time spent in Costa Rica was unforgettable. I was placed with a host mother there, Inez, and she was a fantastic tutor in Spanish. Inez spoke slowly and clearly, especially at first. My evenings in Costa Rica were spent sitting around the kitchen with Inez. She cooked authentic foods for me, such as arroz con pollo and gallo pinto, while we discussed everything from American politics to the history of Costa Rica. 

I also had some incredible weekend trips while there. I went all over the country, from the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean, and throughout the mountainous region between the two. Just a few highlights from the trip included going zip-lining, attending a futbol match, taking part in dancing and cooking classes, visiting an indigenous village, and exploring the forests of Costa Rica.

I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to study abroad, and it all began here in the anthropology department with encouragement from my professors. I would encourage all anthropology students to take advantage of the study abroad programs while they are here at the University of West Georgia!

Summer 2009

Laura Straub Visits India

I went on the anthropological expedition to Ladakh and Hamachal Pradesh in India with the Himalayan Health exchange. My experience with this program was great. I enjoyed learning about Tibetan and Indian culture first hand and experiencing the beautiful Himalayan mountain range. This trip was a once in a lifetime adventure with experiences such as exploring the ancient caves of Padmasambava, to drinking butter tea in McLeodganj home to his holiness the Dalai Lama, and sitting with local changpas in the greater Himalayas watching them shear pashmina goats.

Summer 2008

William R. Skibinski - Ethnographic Field Methods Carhuaz, Peru (Andean Field School)

Primary focus: PAR (participatory action research) activities, community immersion, medical anthropology, education, environmental/ecological concerns, biodiversity, waste management, composting, medicinal plants, and Spanish language.

Rachel Mayo and Eva Shultz-Himalayan Anthropology Field Expedition

Himalayan Health Exchange

June 10 thru July 4
Himalayan Health Exchange (HHE) is organizing an anthropological field expedition to India in the summer of 2008.  Through an independent study/fieldwork in a remote Himalayan Tibetan Borderland, HHE will offer students a practical approach to the study of India and the Himalayan culture in a socio-cultural, medical and religious context.  During their journey, team members will have the opportunity to investigate local history, religious beliefs and practices, modern human adaptations, regional effects of globalization, monastic life and local healthcare. In addition, through trekking and camping in remote areas, they will participate in the interconnectedness of the magnificent natural environment with a daily local existence. This first-hand experience will be accompanied by daily academic lectures and research assistance. 
Lecture topics will include:  Cultural, Medical, Economic, Biological and Visual Anthropology, Religion & Philosophy, Cross-cultural healing, Ayurveda, Public Health, Buddhism, Hinduism, Indian and Tibetan history, High Altitude Adaptation, Psychology, Art/Fine Arts, Geography, Social Work, Sociology, Yoga and Meditation

For details, please contact Ravi Singh, Founder:   Himalayan Health Exchange:,     404-929-9399. 

Marybeth Taylor in Copan

The Harvard Field School in Maya Archaeology and Epigraphy in Copan, Honduras.  Under the auspices of the Peabody Museum and the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University, the Harvard Summer School, and the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History.

This program offers summer study of the ruins of Copan for students interested in archaeology, epigraphy, museums, and Latin American studies.  Through evening seminar discussions and daily fieldwork, students discuss and practice settlement pattern survey and analysis, landscape archaeology, geographic information systems, total station laser mapping, household archaeology, soil and flotation analysis, ceramic classification, lithic studies, osteology, hieroglyphic decipherment exercises and sculpture documentation and study.  Other topics covered in depth include archaeological conservation, museography, and architectural restoration.  Students work alongside Honduran students and staff during the excavations and in the lab. This enables them to gain an appreciation and understanding of their counterparts in Honduras and of the diverse cultures of present-day Mesoamerica.  This program enables students to engage in close collaboration with others to preserve the past for the future and to disseminate knowledge about its applications for the present day.

Research began in the Copan Valley by studying the settlement patterns of the supporting population and conducting household archaeology to examine their ways of life.  It expanded into a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program in the 1980s and 1990s that investigated the architectural and dynastic history of the civic-ceremonial center in great detail.  Today, Copan is recognized as the best understood city of the Ancient Maya and one of the best represented in site museums.