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My ACM Costa Rica experience can best be summed up as inspirational. It was the first time I truly felt useful as a researcher, carrying out research that was bigger than me but somehow, made better by my hard work and by that of my team members. Also, I got my first true idea of just how research can go wrong and, in spite of the best-laid plans, can be taken off track by external forces. As a result, I learned the best lesson of social research- what I want to learn and what others want to teach me are often two different things, and the only way to make the best of it is to change my perspective, not that of those who are being kind enough to share their lives with me. The ACM Field Research Program is the only one I know of that truly challenges its students, and I managed to love every second of it.
—Stephanie Jaros, Research Coordinator at Stanford University's Bipolar Disorders Clinic, Costa Rica, Spring 1998
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