Tag Archives: Research

Last day à Montréal

(A word about the image above…I walked by this pile of snow each day when I went to UQAM. I thought it was so pretty that I just had to share it…haha. I remember such piles from my years growing up in Iowa!)

Last night, I enjoyed watching the Montréal Canadiens defeat the Ottawa Sénateurs in the first round of Stanley Cup play-offs. The Canadiens won 4-3 with 6 of the 7 goals being scored in the second period! It was quite exciting to watch, even though I know very little about hockey. I’m thinking that all hockey games aren’t that rocambolesque (i.e., incredible), but who am I to say? I think the Montrealers had a bit more bounce in their collective step today.

I headed to the office mid-morning and worked through some literature for awhile before giving gifts and saying goodbyes. Bob and Ariane were so welcoming this week, and I feel very fortunate to have made these connections. Between the student strike and Bob leaving for Australia Monday (goodness, that has got to be a long flight from Quebec!), my timing could have been better. Nonetheless, it was a beneficial collaboration, and Bob has invited me to stay in touch, do online surveys at UQAM, and even incorporate his theory on passion into my work. I hope our paths cross again one day.

After lunching in my hotel room and checking in for my flights (yay!), I set out on foot to return to my favorite part of this city: Vieux Montréal , where Reed and I went Saturday. Today was much warmer and I knew the way, so it was a very enjoyable two hours of site-seeing and walking. I again saw the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, strolled down Rue St Paul, and I even walked through China Town (that’s for you, Abbie!). Also, I ducked into La Baie, which is the Hudson Bay Company, Canada’s iconic department store.

When I returned to the hotel, it was warm enough that I could sit on the balcony and read for awhile, so that was a treat (especially with my west-facing view). I am so excited to return to my family tomorrow, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my week, and I have learned so much. Even though the culture here is somewhat familiar, it still holds many opportunities for increased awareness about cross-cultural considerations. I will file away this experience in my sabbatical folder, but I will return to it often for further contemplation.

Mes recherches à Montréal est terminée!

Yesterday the vote was to continue the student strike (i.e., grève), so that’s not good news for the UQAM campus. The photo below briefly describes this…I took it from this morning’s paper (it even focuses on the 5000 social sciences’ students). The mood on campus was somber when I arrived today. I haven’t observed any protests, and I have heard that they have been well controlled, but is isn’t good news for the community. I hope both sides can work out their differences and find common ground soon. I guess there was a similar strike in 2012 that lasted 8 months!

I ventured out to complete my remaining surveys after working in the office awhile. It was good to touch base with Bob, Ariane, and two of the students (both named Jérémie). They all asked how my data collection was going, and they were so pleased by my report. I think us research nerds are the same around the world – super excited for data-gathering success!

I struck out at Desjardins…it was overwhelming during lunchtime. Imagine the Lloyd Mall food court packed full of people conversing at small tables. I did a couple of laps and chickened out…I almost approached a table of three women until I saw that they were conversing via sign language! So, I went back over to the campus food court…familiar territory. It was about 1:30 by this point, so most had finished lunch. However, there were two tables of non-students (my target audience) who were willing to help. Three who started surveys discontinued midway through, so that was kind of a bummer, but I was pleased to have a few responses from people outside of the 18- to 22-year-old range.

I stopped at the market on my way back “home” for a few last provisions to cover the next two days (I don’t like eating out alone, and I have a fridge, toaster, etc. in my room). It feels good to have finished my research here in Montréal and to have made some new connections in academia. Tomorrow I will go to campus one last time to be among my new “colleagues.” I will have some time for site-seeing in the warm sunshine as well. It should be a nice way to wrap up sabbatical research trip #2!



Research ups & downs (but mostly ups)

Yesterday I met the researcher at the Université Québec à Montréal (UQAM) I had contacted last fall. His name is Robert Vallerand, and he has been studying motivation, passion, and other constructs related to positive psychology and social behaviors for about 30 years. I ran across some of his articles when working on my literature review for my study. He very generously agreed to collaborate and share his expertise with me. You can read more about his research lab here.

Bob’s assistant, Ariane, also has been very gracious, even getting me keys for office space and wifi access. Today, I got to sit in on a lab meeting for Bob’s research team. I was greeted via email this morning with the following meeting reminder: “Bonjour à tous, Un petit rappel pour le lab meeting aujourd’hui à 11h30. À tantôt!” I think I like appointment reminders better when they’re in French. 

The team members, consisting of a couple of undergrad students and about four grad students, plus Bob and Ariane, shared their research projects, all of which relate to passion. We had fruitful discussions of how harmonious and obsessive passion connect with meaning in life (my topic), and it was a great experience to exchange ideas. Bob encouraged me to look into presenting my research at the next European Network for Positive Psychology conference, which will be in Angers, France, in 2016. (This was before he knew I was there last month, or that we are contemplating how to get there with students in 2016, so I was blown away by the connection!)

Anyway, the people here have been wonderful – part of the “ups” of doing research in another country. My timing, however, is part of the “downs” as there is a student strike now at UQAM. Needless to say, this makes finding research participants a challenge. Not all sections of this large university (~40,000 students) are striking, and I don’t know the details (Google them), but many students are participating, including most psychology students. Therefore, I cannot go into a couple of classes and get my surveys done efficiently.

The research team helped me brainstorm about alternatives, and today I was successful in getting 22 student surveys at a food court on campus! (My goal at each site is 30, though this likely will not be possible in Haiti…I’ll worry about that next month.) I’d like to have some adults outside the 18-22 age range too, so tomorrow I will go to Place des Arts and Complexes Desjardins, a cultural and shopping area, complete with more food courts. It pushes me outside my comfort zone to approach people in French to ask them about completing my surveys, but I figure the worst they can do is say “no” (and think I’m a bit strange).

After my research day was done, I walked about 1.5 miles to the more “French” part of the city, hoping to be reminded of Paris un petit peu. Mais non…pas aujourd’hui. I did find a Starbucks and Gap though (please read the sarcasm in that statement). The French language is more prevalent here than I expected, but the French influence in other ways is not as present as I had hoped. Still, I’m so glad to be here and am learning a lot. It’s such a good experience to go to new cultures as many lessons await.


Croissants + Poptarts = Research Success

Today I visited two schools connected with the AHA International study abroad site in Angers, France. There are many wonderful opportunities for students here – I hope I can help to recruit some from Concordia! After a breakfast of cheese, croissants, and coffee, I went to Ecole Supérieure des Pays de Loire and spoke to two tourism classes. They are expected to be fluent in English, so thankfully I was asked to speak with them en Englais. I must say that it felt good to be back in the classroom. We discussed various topics of interest to them, such as American college life, tourist attractions in the US, sports, food, and my perceptions of France. A Trailblazers’ fan was present, and he was pleased that I have been to the Moda Center and know of Batum, who is from Le Mans, not far from here. Students completed my research surveys on meaning in life as they enjoyed Poptarts that I brought with me, a novelty here.

Next I visited Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Commerciales d’Angers, an impressive business school here. I got to enjoy lunch with two ESSCA directors, and then I had a great tour of their substantial facilities. Angers is their headquarters, and there are additional sites in Paris, Budapest, and Shanghai. Of course business classes are their primary focus, but they also have classes related to the EU, politics, and history, as well as French (bien sûr!). Many classes are taught in English, so a non-French speaking student could easily attend. Between what AHA and ESSCA offer, our Concordia students could easily fulfill the new language requirements in as few as 4-6 weeks!

I have found Angers to be a delightful city, and I’m so pleased to spend a few days here. I hope students consider coming (check out these sites for AHA: http://ahastudyabroad.org/europe-northwestern/angers-france.html and ESSCA: http://www.essca.fr/en/you-are/international-student/exchange-student/) as I am certain they would have a wonderful experience too! 

Arrived in Angers (say "awn-jay")

The journey from Portland to Paris by air went as smooth as could be. Great service, smooth skies, an early arrival, and luggage to be claimed. Then it was a TGV (i.e., Train à Grand Vitesse, or “high-speed train”) for 300km southeast to Angers, France. Sue, the AHA International host who has helped to arrange things, was at the train station as planned. A short stroll to the hotel, time to refresh, and crêpes for dinner in a bit…a decent first day overall. Tomorrow brings meetings and data collection, which is what prompted this trip, so it’s good to finally be here and ready to go…exploring the quaint city of Angers is also in order.