So it begins. The time has finally come. The end of the second year is closing in. The international field project (IFP) has begun. In the next few months, decisions need to be made, meetings have to be scheduled, frustrations will come up, and research shall be performed.

At first, a decision needed to be made whether or not to travel to Indonesia. While this is a great opportunity to obtain practical research experience and to broaden your horizon, there are also valid reasons not to go. These reasons convinced us to stay home and keep the research on a national level. This is what we all shared, a collective view on the IFP. Since there weren’t many people who preferred to stay put, forming groups brought some discussions and frustrations with it. No one had first choice, no one agreed and no one was truly motivated. You might be wondering why I am writing in what seems like a rather negative tone towards the IFP so far, but I will come to that later.

When finally groups were settled and several meetings had taken place, structure started to develop and some trust was established. Still, there were struggles with the project, because none of us really felt connected to the subject of accessible tourism. Therefore, we and Harald – our supervisor – came up with a few ideas to bring the subject to live and light a spark within us for inspiration and motivation. A few days ago, we used one of his ideas concerning the literature review. The one we had written did not present our best work or how Harald liked to see it, so we decided to start over. As a team.

We planned to meet each other and even found out how to reserve a room at school. Everyone was responsible for providing a few articles and by using a model found in one specific article, we divided the information in three different categories. The fun part was that we used colored post-it notes to do this. Personally, I felt that in this moment, we started to really connect and trust one another as a team as well as getting to know each other a little more on a personal level. I believe we worked for about four hours straight, divided tasks for the following days and even had a bit of fun in between.

Coming back to the negative tone I mentioned, we wanted our first blog post to be about the ‘post-it notes day’, because that is when we connected more and started to feel positive towards the entire project. Since I was the one who volunteered to write this first story, I chose to dig a little deeper and let go of the feeling that we have to present ourselves as the ‘perfect’ research team. It is a big project, there are responsibilities, communication and trust is needed, motivation will fade from time to time and we will need each other to bring it back.

Yes, we need each other. As long as we remember and respect that, we’ll be fine. So from this point forward, we have a positive view on the project and faith in our team.

Written by: Michelle van Loon