Want to know more about what goes on during
the workshops, or wondering whether to apply?
Read this description by a recent workshop graduate.
The RCI workshop is a great place to field ideas and research questions, no matter at what stage your research is in. You learn how to ask the right questions and how to present your research effectively. Your ideas will be tried, in a civilized manner, before a diverse jury of accomplished economists in various fields. Most of the time, after consultation with faculty, you retain your topic, but the thrust evolves in such a manner that institutions are more deeply examined. However, it is not rare for people to be forced to think of an entirely new question in the aftermath of various group discussions. The important thing is that you undergo the process with honesty and an open mind.
One of the things that impressed me was that in this workshop, faculty and your co-participants listen intently and offer sincere suggestions for improvement of your work, rather than politely acknowledge the end of your discussion. Since most of you are from different fields, you will learn a lot just by listening to all the presenters, even if it takes some effort to truly understand their work. Everyone gets a turn at being the main presenter and the discussant. In fact, just conversing with your discussant and the one whose paper you’ll discuss, opens new doors in your mind. You just might find yourself going home with a new research interest.
While listening to the various presenters, you realize that all over the world, people are grappling with the same kinds of research problems that you face. This is both comforting and interesting. In line with making friends with your discussant and the one who will discuss your paper, the RCI is a great place for forming lasting friendships that transcend time zones. You’ll find that there are common interests that bind you with the rest of the participants. You pick up a new word or two in different languages. You may get lost with them in some adventure while exploring the city. These things, you will never forget.
Lastly, going through the workshop triggers an internal transformation. Being immersed in a foreign country with new ideas and new companions enriches your mind. It has spillover effects in life that are very difficult to quantify. You’ll find that it creeps up on you, hazily at first, invading your dreams. Then, it manifests in more concrete ways, changing the way you do simple things like reading the news, or what you think about upon hearing your colleagues talk about a new research proposal, or even the way you teach your students. Lastly, it causes you to critically evaluate your life choices, which is always a good thing.
by Stephanie L. Chan
2009 workshop, Xiamen, China