Didier Banyeretse

Departure Date:
Return Date:
Local Institution:
Oberlin College
Local Advisor:
Dan Stinebring
Foreign Institution:
National Astronomical Observatory of China
Foreign Advisor:
Weiwei Zhu
Student Status:
  • Q. What country were you staying in?
    • China
  • Q. Where were you doing research?
    • Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Q. How long were you there?
    • Two months
  • Q. What sort of research were you doing?
    • I was studying interstellar medium diffractive and refractive properties in the context of interstellar scintillation. This mostly consisted of navigating unix based environments and processing pulsar observational data.
  • Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing?
    • Yes, it gave me the opportunity to work at the most modern and largest astronomical observatory.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad?
    • I really enjoyed being in East Asia and the completely different culture, food, and general way of living.
  • Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language?
    • pong (mahjong)
  • Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad?
    • The language barrier was uniquely difficult in that it affected me every day in everything I did. In addition, I and the other interns were mostly responsible for ourselves when it came to planning transportation and a lot of our housing, which made financial and time management a bit difficult in such a foreign environment.
  • Q. What did you do in your free time?
    • I spent a lot of my free time exploring the city with some of the native interns when I was in Beijing. As we transitioned to the FAST site, a lot of my free time was spent on some independent reading and watching movies.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done or seen while abroad?
    • The coolest thing I saw in China was the beautiful scenery of the country.
  • Q. What advice would you offer others thinking of going abroad?
    • I think having somewhat of a grasp on Mandarin would be very beneficial for anyone going to China. Other than that, having an open mind to new experiences is all you really need to really enjoy your time there.
  • Q. What skills have you learned abroad?
    • I learned a bunch of different things like how to use chopsticks, ride a scooter, use a vpn, etc.