Tessa Maynard

Departure Date:
Jun. 01 2014
Return Date:
Aug. 05 2014
Local Institution:
West Virginia University
Local Advisor:
Maura McLaughlin
Foreign Institution:
Leiden Netherlands
Foreign Advisor:
Alessandro Patruno
Student Status:
Undergraduate
  • Q. What country were you staying in? The Netherlands
  • Q. What university were you attending/doing research at? University of Leiden with Alessandro Patruno
  • Q. How long were you there? Two months
  • Q. What sort of research were you doing? was studying magnetospheric instabilities in accretion disks around compact objects.
  • Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing? Being abroad itself didn’t influence my research, aside from socially, but my adviser did. Since radio astronomy has been a predominant influence in my academic career, I found it interesting and refreshing to work with x-ray data.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad? The coolest thing about being abroad was that I was housed with an international student program and got to live with students from around the world who were also studying in astrophysics.
  • Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language? Hup Holland Hup! This phrase got used ad nauseam due to the World Cup.
  • Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad? Not having an oven or microwave. You’re creativity and domestic skills are really put to the test when you have to share a micro-fridge and stovetop. Also, getting used to biking everywhere, taking public transport, and having to pay extra if you didn’t bring your own grocery bags. These were definitely a huge culture shock from living in rural America.
  • Q. What did you do in your free time? my free time I did a ton of exploring! We visited several different Dutch cities and I even visited London for a weekend! I can’t believe how many museums I went to and how many soccer matches I watched either.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? Seen: People riding bicycles in stilettos or texting with both hands and biking fast. That was just insane. Done: When I was in London I was able to pick up and play with a squirrel.
  • Q. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? Seen: People riding bicycles in stilettos or texting with both hands and biking fast. Done: Some of the Spanish speaking kids I lived with decided that we would only have two sided conversations one day. I don’t speak Spanish, but I suppose I understand it well enough!
  • Q. What advice would you offer others going abroad? Figure out how the local population deals with money. My American debit cards almost never worked because in the Netherlands one needs a Dutch bank account and specific Dutch bank card to make almost any transactions outside of the airports or train stations.
  • Q. What skills have you learned abroad? Budgeting, cooking, and coding in C were some awesome skills I picked up along the way. Public transport used to make me nervous, but since driving is less economic there I got quite savvy at figuring out trains and whatnot.
  • Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known? wish I would have known to get a Dutch bank account, otherwise the unexpectedness of my entire trip made it more interesting.