When you get into a particular sub-field of a research specialty you become involved in a new community with it’s own language, cultural expectations and norms. I have learned many new words and acronyms this summer: ICT4D, M4D, mHealth, etc. There is a required reading list for this field: the End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs; Mountains beyond Mountains by Tracey Kidder; Three Cups of Tea; Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof, etc. I should probably be a vegetarian at home but eat meat abroad when appropriate. Though this is a global field there are only a few thousand people who work in this field so it doesn’t take much time to meet and get to know most of the major players, even though they are spread across the globe.
I am enjoying this aspect of being in the research/academic/development/open-source world because the passion of people doing this work is much more inspiring than anything found in the corporate/industry world. Being around inspiring people makes the long flights in coach and the small paychecks a little easier.