In the months of September through December 2020 I had the honor of staying at the Roosevelt Institute for American Studies to hone my skills as an Americanist and meet the amazing people involved in the academic field of American Studies.
My time at the RIAS was marked by two distinct developments. In the first place, my arrival coincided with the relocation and reopening of the RIAS in het Zeeuws Archief. Helping the RIAS settle in its new location allowed me to contribute in a lot of meaningful ways and teach me a great deal about the innerworkings of an archive.
Secondly, there was of course the corona crisis that impacted the RIAS too in every way; from day-to-day activities to planned events, everything was move online. I was fortunate to be able to work every day from the office, where we could still receive a number of researchers with whom I had great interactions and exchanged helpful research assistance. Being involved with many different research projects was an amazing experience and introduced me to a number of sources and topics. Similarly, the online events were some of the highlights during my time at the RIAS. Attending the different lectures and helping to organize seminars was not just educational, it helped me to connect with the international field of American Studies.
In truth, the most fun I had was when I could freely explore the many sources that the RIAS has in its collection. I spent many hours browsing through microfilms, finding incredibly interesting sources and discovering new research topics that I hope to explore deeper in the future. But the RIAS’s expertise lies not just in its collection. Every member of the staff is uniquely knowledgeable about different topics. Meeting and interaction with the staff was a great pleasure and a source of many new insights.
My RIAS experience was educational, rewarding, and a lot of fun. I owe many thanks to everyone at the RIAS for helping me settle in, support me in my research, and for being genuine and enjoyable people that brightened the days during this gloomy corona autumn.