While the second year students were enjoying the sun at the beautiful beaches in Indonesia, the 1st year students were actually working in Amsterdam. The NFP – for those of you that do not know: it is an abbreviation for National Field Project. The 1st year students of the BSc Tourism program go to a tourist destination within in the Netherlands and conduct research on a certain topic. This year the investigation focused on the relation between wireless internet on mobile devices, emotions, and social interaction on a holiday.
National Field project – Day 1:
At 10:30 the BSc Tourism students gathered at the hostel Van Gogh in Amsterdam, waiting to get the last pep talk before they went out to experience the real world of tourism research with their research partner. And even more important, they were impatiently awaiting their long promised surprise from Pangea. And as a matter of fact, it was worth the wait – at least I do not know anything that is more energizing and motivating than an apple with a little fortune cookie note. With the apple in one hand and a map of Amsterdam in the other, we all took off to our first research destination. The next three days we would collect information about our research topic at six destinations located across Amsterdam (and the surrounding locations Volendam & Zaanse Schans).
My research partner, Marijn, and I started out in the Vondelpark. It was the perfect spot to start our research. The combination of a relaxed atmosphere, good weather and a “gezellige” feeling resulted in an easy start. After going over our script, we did not wait long to start handing out questionnaires. The first people that we addressed were actually researchers themselves so we immediately got some nice feedback which got us even more enthusiastic for the day.
We addressed people of all ages, genders and nationalities. With a nice smile and little effort we already got a lot of people to help us with our investigation. Since the questionnaire went this well we started with the participant observation. In particular this caught our liking – finding a comfortable spot, putting on sunglasses and starting to observe or as others might say: stalk people.
In between the observing and writing some questions came up so we initiated conversations with the people. These interactions with tourists in particular were fun because it seemed like a lot of people actually felt like sharing their feelings and opinions about the topic. Some people even approached us and started telling us about future development plans regarding Internet on mobile devices and Wi-Fi at the Waterlooplein (our 2nd research destination).
After a long and relaxed lunch break we continued inquiring information about our research topic there. It took a little more effort to persuade tourists at the Waterlooplein to participate in the questionnaire. Most people assumed we were going to sell them something since the Waterlooplein can be seen as a shopping area. Luckily, approaching them straight forward with an open attitude did the trick.
Upon our return to the hostel we discussed our findings and first impressions with our fellow classmates and NFP instructors. It was quite interesting and sometimes even funny to hear what the other 15 groups had experienced over the day. Our instructors gave us feedback and concluded that we had an efficient and enjoyable day. However, the day was not over yet as we had one more thing on our schedule: a social activity. We decided to go to the Vondelpark – which was really close to the hostel – and light up a BBQ. Let me tell you: it was ‘heel lekker!’
It seemed like the perfect relaxed end to a busy day. But there was one more surprise that got us all energized: a competitive photo hunt prepared by Pangea. We got together in groups and started taking pictures that were listed on a paper such as candle light dinner at McDonald’s, proposing to someone, or eating grass. It was a fun activity and the winners even got a price. Around eleven everyone went their separate ways. The party animals among us still went out, however, most decided to get a good night’s sleep to prepare for the following day of NFP 2015.
Written by: Nellie Friedrich