Nick Mahany

Departure Date:
Jun. 01 2014
Return Date:
Aug. 10 2014
Local Institution:
Franklin & Marshall
Local Advisor:
Andrea Lommen
Foreign Institution:
Swinburne University
Foreign Advisor:
Evan Keane
Student Status:
Undergraduate
  • Q. What country were you staying in? Australia
  • Q. What university were you attending/doing research at? Swinburne University of Technology
  • Q. How long were you there? weeks
  • Q. What sort of research were you doing? was doing some basic data processing to help with the search for fast radio bursts.  At times I was also creating simulations of what a gravitational wave bursts would look like in pulsar residual data sets.
  • Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing? was already doing research in gravitational wave astronomy before I went to Australia but it strengthened my desire to continue the research.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad? Experiencing a culture that you’ve never been a part of before.  We get so used to American culture that it is a really valuable experience to go to a different country and be the foreigner.  The people in Australia are so friendly and really wanted to introduce me to some of the most important parts of Australian culture.
  • Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language? No worries.  A lot of Australians use this phrase instead of I’m sorry and I love it.  I’ve been using it every day ever since I’ve come back.
  • Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad? my abroad experience the hardest part was going to a different country by myself.  I had heard my friend’s abroad experience that was through a program with other kids and they did a great job of integrating my friend into the environment.  Going to a different country by yourself you really have to figure it out on your own and be fearless in trying to integrate yourself into the existing environment.  
  • Q. What did you do in your free time? spent a lot of time with some people I met who I was working with.  We would explore the city of Melbourne and find other fun activities to do such as exploring the great ocean road.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? I’ve always wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef so it was a dream come true.
  • Q. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? wouldn’t say it was weird but trying vegemite was an interesting experience to say the least…
  • Q. What advice would you offer others going abroad? Find housing long before you leave.  It’s much harder to find a place to live than you might think.
  • Q. What skills have you learned abroad? became a much more confident person while I was abroad.  Being in a different country alone is definitely hard but it teaches you a lot about yourself very quickly and forces you to learn how to be a strong independent person.
  • Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known? The only thing I regret about my trip is not being able to visit New Zealand while I was down there.  Hopefully next time I get to Australia I can visit the adventure capital of the world.