Graduate Student Resources and a Laugh

Borrowed from

As I am now back in my office I had to read up on blogs I normally follow.

A favorite of mine is Chris Blattman, who even inspired my new blog both in content and style. Anyhoo, he posted among many more substantial things a funny link – the illustrated guide to a PhD.

It looks something like what you see to the left…”approaching the edge of human knowledge!” Haha! You just must see the whole thing! (click on the link above)

The funny guy coming up with this, Matt Might, also posted helpful book tips for graduate students (although I am missing Marian Petre’s brilliant The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research) as well as a list of productivity tips for academics – very useful as the fall semester approaches with speed!

This semester I will try to post research related posts on Fridays, lets see how it goes.

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Minor Field Study (MFS) in Ghana

Yesterday, I met up with two students coming to do their minor field study (MFS)  in Ghana.

MFS  is almost an institution in Swedish academic circles. Since 1968, MFS is a stipend financed from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), administered by the International Programme Office for Education and Training (in Swedish: Internationalla Programkontoret) in collaboration with higher educational institutions in Sweden. The goal with the program is to expose young university students to life in developing countries and give them an experience of doing research there. The student has to propose a research plan and spend at least 8 weeks in the chosen field destination. The stipend covers travel expenses and a little more. Over the years more than 10 000 students have gone through the program. Recent theses coming out of the program since can be found in this MFS Thesis Database. Usually, the program is very popular and highly competitive.

Back to yesterday afternoon. I first took Emma and Ebba to eat some fufu and drink some bissap at Buka. We talked about everything from clinics to corruption, from surveys to soup, from PhD to perfect beaches. After washing our hands, we went around to do some errands, see some Ghanaian art and crafts and finished the day with a drink by the beach. I could see myself  in them – the personal involvement in student activities, the interest in the foreign and exotic, the wonderful curiosity. I was impressed with their confidence and their future goals.

Emma and Ebba are not the first MFS students I take around Accra.  They follow Emilie, Asa, Jessica and Ulrik  – all MFS students who I have met in Ghana. To some I have been a contact person, an address to put on the VISA application, to others “Field Supervisor” and a discussion partner.  I must say I enjoy spending time with them and gladly share what ever small knowledge on research I possess as well as my own experiences in this green country.

Ironically, my own MFS application was not approved when I was studying for my Bachelor’s Degree. But that is another story.

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Gallup Reveals the Secret Behind Few Africans Banking

Few people in Africa have bank accounts. In Ghana, just like the sub-Saharan African region over all,  it is 19%, but it varies from 49% in South Africa and 1% in Congo/Kinshasa and Niger.

So why do not Africans go to the bank and open an account?

Gallup includes the answer to this question in their report Few in Sub-Saharan Africa Have Money in a Bank:

“Two-thirds say the lack of money is the main reason why they don’t have accounts.”

What a shocker.

Read the whole Gallup report here! And/or read more Ghana related Gallup news!

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