During April and May of 2018, ten students from Carleton University attended workshops and participated in field research in Storuman, Sweden. These students were from a variety of programs and at different stages in their academic careers. Funding for their participation was largely through Charles Darwin University.

Graduate Students:

  • Reyhaneh Golestani, PhD Student, Free Range Scholar
  • Sam Petrie, MSc Student, Free Range Scholar
  • Laleah Sinclair, MSW Student, Free Range Scholar

Undergraduate Students:

  • Michele LeBlanc, BHSc Student (2nd year), Dean’s Summer Research Intern
  • Sydney Morris, BHSc Student (4th year), Free Range Scholar
  • Saambavi Paskaran, BHSc Student (4th year), Health Sciences Research Intern
  • Liam Priest, BHSc Student (4th year), Free Range Scholar
  • Claudia Sendanyoye, BHSc Student (4th year), Free Range Scholar
  • Chelsea Waid, BHSc Student (4th year), Free Range Scholar

Student Reflections

For most of the students from Carleton University, this was their first immersion into an international field workshop and rural research project. A primary objective of the Free Range program is to facilitate international learning experiences for students at all levels. Some of this learning comes from the production of research output, including the above-outlined scoping reviews and thesis projects. However, some of this learning comes from simply living in and interacting with the communities in which our workshops take place.

Each of the Carleton students involved in Free Range was asked to write a brief reflection of their experience in the program, taking whatever form and in whatever voice they felt was most appropriate. These reflections are included below:

Sam Petrie (reflection) From a deeper understanding of the importance of context to disproving preconceptions of rural living, to creating lifelong friendships, the program afforded me outstanding occasions to further my research and build a lasting network of friends and colleagues.”
Laleah Sinclair (reflection) “I do think dirt research is enhanced by spending social time with people from the area and absorbing unrelated information about the area.”
Michele LeBlanc (reflection) Free Range changed the way I look at rural and remote communities. Instead of seeing our areas of the world as the “middle of nowhere”, I began to realize that, in fact, the only reason we consider our areas of the world to be any lesser is that is society’s perception that we are perpetuating.”
Sydney Morris (reflection) One of the leaders…especially motivated me. I was very frustrated one day with my topic when I came to the realization that my idea was broad enough to be a PhD thesis and too much of a task for me to take on at the moment, and I didn’t know where to go from there… When I said I didn’t know if my interests lined up with the objectives of Free Range, she denied that and better explained the overall idea of Free Range and how almost everything contributed to something. She described that there’s no need to try and please anyone with what I write and that Free Range didn’t have any two people researching the same thing, and didn’t want that anyways. She said to “know your interests, find your gap, pick your lens, and fill it with your own contribution”. A very simple idea but a powerful one in research.”
Saambavi Paskaran (reflection) “As a student interested in health policy, I asked a few questions about how epidemiological research is translated into policy in Sweden, specifically Vasterbotten county. I learned that knowledge translation was also an issue in Sweden when it comes to translating research into policy. The complexity of reasoning out why differences in life expectancy exist between local communities makes it difficult to come up with policy ideas to address health inequalities.”
Liam Priest (reflection) The university years are typically filled with a great variety of new experiences and knowledge both in a personal and academic context. However, for many, myself included, a certain frustration grows in learning concepts without being able to experience applications. My time in Sweden, being immersed in the culture and as well as working with an extraordinary group of researchers, greatly aided in bridging the gap between concepts and practice. Although the answers were not always as clear as in an academic setting, the discussions highlighted the complexity of topics and the multitude of perspectives.”
Chelsea Waid (reflection) These courses [at Carleton], taught from the social perspective of health, proved to directly translate to my proposed research contribution to the Free-Range – “designing youth health services for ‘hard to reach’ rural populations.” For instance, many of the social determinants of health are part of the complex interactions that affect the wellbeing of youth in rural and remote areas. This can include individual characteristics, such as the direct environment youth reside in. Factors such as living in isolated areas, living alone, and/or youth who have moved away from their home towns, have the potential to affect the health and wellbeing through their accessibility, or lack of accessibility, to health services.”
Claudia Sendanyoye (reflection) “The Free-range research program, allowed me to directly submerse myself in the work I am most passionate about, gain new skills and have early exposure to my field of interest!”