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PhD Student Testimony: Hatice, Spring Semester 2021

After all, I could finally achieve my target!

Attending the Ethno-practicum was a long journey for me having a lot of ups and downs. I

postponed it three semesters due to Covid-19 measures. At the end, I could not wait longer

and I decided to conduct my fieldwork in spring semester 2021. The airport did not open

until mid-March, and I could only do my visa application afterwards. I was able to join the

enthusiastic PhD workshop group in person in May, with the great help of the faculty


Although I had little time to pursue my field research on democratic schools in Israel, it was

very intense and rich. Establishing contacts was easier than I expected. In the second week

of my stay, I already found myself in Hadera, talking very intimately with Yaakov, the

founder of the first democratic school in Israel, as if we know each other for a long time.

This field visit was very inspiring for me, both for my personal future dreams and my PhD


I could meet with faculty members, professors and students working on similar topics, in a

very relaxing, informal, friendly atmosphere. I even came to know PhD students who are

working on similar topics as I do, and we exchanged a lot with them. I enlarged my

bibliography and my conceptual framework after these meetings.

The faculty members of Anthropology in Haifa University were quite supportive in finding

relevant contacts, placing the research into a context, giving advice for the thesis and

establishing long-term contacts for future collaborations. I had the opportunity to present

my PhD work on several occasions where I could get very constructive feedback. After years-long Covid time, it was very refreshing to be in an atmosphere where people are

enthusiastically engaged in academic discussions. The faculty generously engaged me in the

local and international meetings which I highly benefited from.

Overall, it was a great experience. The practicum provided me to travel around, met with

new people and open new horizons for my personal perceptions and my PhD research.

Hatice Soeylemez, Phd Student | Spring 2021


Hatice is a PhD student at the University of Zurich, Social Anthropology and Popular Culture Department.

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