Visiting McGill University, a blogpost by Stella Pachidi

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Books, notes and clothes for all types of weather are spread around my room in our beautiful apartment in Rue Rachel. It is time to pack all this stuff… It seems challenging but manageable! But how to pack all the memories from 3 amazing months in Montreal? Where to fit all this knowledge? How to leave these wonderful people here? When I came to Canada I knew that being homesick didn’t simply mean missing Greece, but also missing the Netherlands. What I didn’t know, was that in short time I would manage to make myself a third home here in Montreal! A home that I’m going to miss a lot…

It all started last summer: After Professor Samer Faraj visited our KIN group for a few weeks, he invited Montserrat Prats Lopez and me to visit McGill University in fall 2013 and attend his doctoral seminar on Technology and Collaboration. Who would say not to such an opportunity? We managed to get everything done quite fast: find budget, arrange all the paper work for our work permit, book an apartment… In less than 6 weeks time, we were saying goodbye to friends and colleagues.

I arrived in Montreal with a travel guide I had had no time to read. In fact, there was no time to read it after either! On the first day, I tried to get everything settled before the hard-working period would start. Second day, I had a quick look at google maps and tried to find McGill to meet with Samer Faraj. Arriving at a new campus is always a great adventure! Walking on the corridors and looking at how people interact, how things are organized, that’s always fun! In our meeting, Samer suggested me to take advantage of my time at McGill and try to learn as much as possible, so following a second course would be certainly beneficial. He asked dr. Robert David to let me attend his doctoral seminar on Organization Theory. So there I was, first day at McGill, sitting at the MBA students area and trying to quickly read the material for the first class of OrgTheory, which was after two hours! I entered the class and in 5 minutes time I felt I was already getting to know the different context in which McGill PhD students work and study. And I seemed to like it a lot!

A couple of days later, I realized that Wednesday would be my favorite day of the week for the next 3 months! And that’s because on that day we had the sessions with the Technology and Collaboration class! The intellectual discussions we got to have every week, covering relevant theories such as practice theory, knowledge, coordination, sociomateriality, affordances and more, were enlightening and quite enjoyable! No matter how hard we had to work (and trust me, we had to work really hard!), we were all quite enthusiastic and energetic, ready to share all our opinions, trying to transcend our boundaries and to create a common  language to discuss the literature. I am so going to miss those Wednesdays! Having the opportunity to follow a structured syllabus and also to discuss the papers with your peers is amazingly beneficial, especially for a PhD student. And the dynamics of the group contributed into having a creative and inspiring atmosphere around us!

I will not only miss the classes at McGill… I will also miss a lot the wonderful XCollaboration group that Samer Faraj and his colleagues have formed here. We had amazing meetings with very interesting discussions about research all together, while everybody gave me quite constructive feedback for my own research project. And more than that, both me and Montserrat felt so welcome here that we will never forget the hospitality of these people! I will miss Samer, Carla, Mahmood, Diego and Hani a lot! I hope we stay in touch and work together in the future.

Now it is time to return to our nice office in Amsterdam! I feel quite excited to be back! But I will also miss McGill… Farewell!

PS: Here’s a picture from our great Technology and Collaboration sessions.

Technology and Collaboration class wtih Prof. Samer Faraj at McGill, November 2013
Technology and Collaboration class wtih Prof. Samer Faraj at McGill, November 2013