During the Summer vacation of 2019, the Department Political Science at the Ohio State University (OSU) in the United States partnered with the Institute of Public Opinion and Research (IPOR) to host the first ever study abroad program in Malawi by the Department of Political Science at OSU. Titled “Malawi Field Research Methods for Politics,” the program brought to Zomba—Malawi—thirteen undergraduate and two graduate students from the field of Political Science, International Development and Public Policy, accompanied by Professor Amanda Robinson spent several weeks in Malawi.
The group from OSU spent part of May and June learning different aspects of social science research from professors in the Political and Administrative Studies Department of Chancellor College—University of Malawi. Visits were made to research institutions including Centre for Social Research (CSR), Invest in Knowledge (IKI) and IPOR to appreciate work that is being done by Malawian researcher in Malawi. The students also visited Mwandama Millennium Village to learn how some ideas relating to research have been implemented.
Besides learning about conducting research in Malawi and other parts of the world, the students had the opportunity to learn about Malawian culture as they spent some time interacting with locals. This included a the students spending an entire day being hosted by Malawian families within Zomba! The program also allowed the students to explore parts of Malawi including Mua Cultural Center in Dedza, tea-tasting at Satemwa in Thyolo district, Mulanje Mountain in Mulanje district, Cape Maclear in Mangochi and other areas.
Although the study abroad program was first of its nature to be hosted by IPOR, the program marks the beginning a relationship between IPOR and OSU’s Department of Political Science with the expectation of more study abroad programs to follow in the coming years.