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Ethnographic Field School: Summer 2017

"Experience is a master teacher, even when it's not our own." ~Gina Greenlee

USU students gained a great deal of experience on the Summer 2017 ethnographic field school to Northern Coastal Peru (Huanchaco, Trujillo, Peru). Watch interviews with the students to discover why they are passionate about anthropology, research, and Peruvian culture; learn more about their goals, plans, and what has helped them along the way!

Ethnographic Field School

The purpose of the USU Anthropology Ethnographic Field School is to expose undergraduate anthropologists to the process of doing anthropology. Students live and do research in another country, learn ethnographic research methods, and put them into practice through group ethnographic research and by producing individual ethnographies.


  1. The systematic study of people and cultures; designed to explore cultural phenomena where the researcher observes society from the point of view of the subject of study.
  2. A body of research produced from ethnographic study.

Read Student Ethnographies

USU in Peru Blog

A Day in the Life

Each day of the field school in Huanchaco and Trujillo, Peru was filled with cultural, educational, and research experiences.

Ethnographers lived in the Huanchaco Hostal and ate three home-cooked Peruvian meals a day in Marita's café.
Class was sometimes held in the hostal lounge, sometimes on the pool patio, sometimes on the beach. The hostal is a two minute walk from the beach, multiple cafés, surf shops, and art vendors.

Students learned key skills in doing ethnographic research, including qualitative and quantitative methods, mapping, kinship patterns, obtrusive versus unobtrusive observation, interview, questionnaires and surveys, and participant observation.

The field school focused on two legs of research. The first was asset-based community development in the migrant community of El Milagro which had recently been devastated by El Niño flooding. Students conducted needs assessments as well as asset surveys to better assess what the community most needed and how they could best begin to reach their goals.
Students also researched medicinal plants in Northern Coastal Peru, gathering information from locals regarding which plants are used, for what illnesses, and how they are prepared.