Letters from a Foreign Land

Fulbright Scholar Denise Stanley and her Family Adjust to New Surroundings

April 2, 2007

By Pam McLaren

Denise Stanley, associate professor of economics, her husband, Mario Salgado, and 5-year-old son, Nicolas, left Southern California in January to spend six month in Honduras. Stanley — a Fulbright Scholar — is studying why immigrants leave home, the impact of their leaving and how their remittances are used and is teaching a course on social economic indicators at National Autonomous University of Honduras.

Here is what she has to say about the experience:           
I finally feel like I have a breather here in Honduras! We’ve been here two months now and I’m making some progress on my research with complimentary teaching. I’ve had to trace a missing part of a dataset I’m working with, but its complete now. I’ll be finishing some summary statistics after Holy Week.

I’m also making progress on my migration paper, which was funded by the College of Business and Economics and a Junior/Senior Faculty Award. I hope to submit it to a journal when I return in July. As a result of being here in Honduras, I’ve been able to find more correct population data and I’ve determined the correct way to estimate village poverty rates in 1988, both of which will assist in my final writing.

Estimating poverty rates is something I just covered in a two-week seminar I directed at the National Autonomous University. The seminar covered the definition, creation and statistical analysis of socio-economic indicators.

It would be nice to take the family to visit other parts of Honduras. We have been a bit confined to the capital city, Tegucigalpa, and are anxious to travel out. Our apartment is way too small for us (two bedrooms, 500 sq. ft. total — fortunately a short-term rental).

We are finding the people in the city to be friendly and haven’t had any safety problems, but the air quality is a problem. Car pollution and particulate matter from nearby forest fires here definitely worsen air pollution! On the positive side, my son, Nicolas, has adjusted nicely to his kindergarten — Vida Abundante — and he is speaking Spanish quite well.

We have been fortunate to do some weekend hiking in a nearby national park, La Tigra. We are looking forward to the Holy Week break when we will travel up to the northwestern part of Honduras and visit the famous Copan Ruins and many Lenca Indian communities. Ciao,
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