Renee Spiewak

Departure Date:
Jun. 15 2013
Return Date:
Aug. 01 2013
Local Institution:
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Local Advisor:
Xavier Siemens
Foreign Institution:
Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari
Foreign Advisor:
Student Status:
  • Q. What country were you staying in? Italy and Thailand
  • Q. What university were you attending/doing research at? The Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari (visit to Thailand was for a conference)
  • Q. How long were you there? weeks in Italy and 2 weeks in Thailand
  • Q. What sort of research were you doing? Astronomical research on pulsars
  • Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing? Not significantly
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad? There is no single coolest thing.  Being immersed in another culture, enjoying the different food, seeing new sights are all incredible.  
  • Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language? Bo - Sardinian for “I don’t know”.  
  • Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad? Adjusting expectations from one culture to another is difficult.
  • Q. What did you do in your free time? Swimming at the various, beautiful beaches in the area.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? Riding an elephant in the jungle in Thailand.
  • Q. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? Eating durian fruit in Thailand
  • Q. What advice would you offer others going abroad? Keep an open mind.  Do not expect people to act like Americans, and try to change your ways to conform to theirs.  
  • Q. What skills have you learned abroad? What skills have you learned abroad?   I learned to make a fool of myself, trying to speak a language that I knew nothing about and getting as much help in it as possible.  
  • Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known? wish I had been more adventurous, exploring more of Thailand and Italy away from the conference site and Observatory.