Steven Hawkins

Departure Date:
Jul. 01 2015
Return Date:
Aug. 16 2015
Local Institution:
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Local Advisor:
Xavi Siemens
Foreign Institution:
McGill University
Foreign Advisor:
Rob Ferdman
Student Status:
  • Q. What country were you staying in? Canada
  • Q. What university were you attending/doing research at? McGill University in Montreal
  • Q. How long were you there? 2.5 months
  • Q. What sort of research were you doing? worked on facilitating the access of NANOGrav data for both members and eventually non-members.
  • Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing? Absolutely! I was able to work with many different technologies and it taught me a lot about what I might want to do in the future.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad? The culture! The differences in how we think about different things really surprised (and enlightened) me.
  • Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language? didn’t learn much, but I’d have to go with ‘fin’ – French for the end. I’m embarrassed to say it took a long time of driving around before I realized it meant that the lane was about to end.
  • Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad? Being away from home. You forget just how much you enjoy your daily routine until you can’t do it for 2.5 months.
  • Q. What did you do in your free time? Explored the Montreal and Quebec City. We also ate a lot of Poutine!
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? Going to Old Quebec in Quebec City was amazing. Not only was there a great view of the harbor/river, but the old stores and entertainment was great.
  • Q. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen or done while abroad? ate snails! Who knew they were such a delicacy up there?
  • Q. What advice would you offer others going abroad? Take your time, don’t rush through everything at once. You can easily wear yourself out by constantly going to see the sights every day. But definitely try to enjoy them!
  • Q. What skills have you learned abroad? learned a great deal about various computer technologies – Python, Javascript, CSS, and a whole bunch of SQL.
  • Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known? would have gone out with the other collaborators more. It’s easy to keep saying “next week we’ll do this”, and even easier to not do it and then have to go back home.