April Liska

Departure Date:
Jun. 15 2014
Return Date:
Aug. 15 2014
Local Institution:
West Virginia University
Local Advisor:
Maura McLaughlin
Foreign Institution:
MPIfR, Bonn Germany
Foreign Advisor:
Michael Kramer
Student Status:
  • Q. What country were you staying in? Germany
  • Q. What university were you attending/doing research at? Max Planck Institut für Radioastronomie
  • Q. How long were you there? Six weeks
  • Q. What sort of research were you doing? was helping to process some data from the High Time Resolution Universe (HTRU) low latitude survey of the southern sky.
  • Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing? Yes, I had the opportunity to visit and use the Effelsberg telescope, and researching at a German institute gave me more of a world perspective on pulsar astronomy
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad? Learning about and exploring a new place and a new culture
  • Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language? don’t know if I have a favorite… the phrase I used most, though, was “Sprechen Sie Englisch?”, meaning “Do you speak English?”. Most Germans know English at at least a basic level, and will usually want to practice their English with you as soon as they can tell that German is not your first language.
  • Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad? Figuring out which restaurants to eat at - it’s hard to tell which ones have the best balance between great food and reasonable prices.
  • Q. What did you do in your free time? Explored! I visited a few places on the weekends, including a WWII bunker, zoo, a chocolate museum, a mathematics museum, and a castle. During the evenings I explored the town I was living in, Bonn, and enjoyed the Rhine River, which was only a 20 minute walk from my apartment.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? Watched Germany win the world cup in a small town bar with a bunch of astrophysicists and a bunch of Germans. There was so much energy in the town during and after the game.
  • Q. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? Recycling is a huge thing in Germany, and supermarkets will give people money for bringing back their bottles. I saw lots of people digging through trash to find bottles to return to supermarkets for money.
  • Q. What advice would you offer others going abroad? Explore as much as you can and immerse yourself in the culture.
  • Q. What skills have you learned abroad? Lots of pulsar searching skills, as well as how to find my way around without understanding much of the language, and interacting with people in German.
  • Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known? would’ve taken a different approach to public transportation. There are tons of ticket options and routes for every trip and it’s difficult to find the cheapest option.