Arlo Parker

Departure Date:
05/15/2016
Return Date:
07/25/2016
Local Institution:
West Virginia University
Local Advisor:
Maura Mclaughlin
Foreign Institution:
University of Manchester
Foreign Advisor:
Rene Breton
Student Status:
Undergraduate
  • Q. What country were you staying in?
    • England
  • Q. Where were you doing research?
    • University of Manchester
  • Q. How long were you there?
    • 10 weeks
  • Q. What sort of research were you doing?
    • We used previously gathered data to simulate statistical properties of the interstellar medium. The interstellar medium has fractal properties that had been previously simulated. Building off of this we tried to create the filamentary structure that is seen in real data using Fourier and wavelet transformations.
  • Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing?
    • I am still working in the same lab that I have been working in most of my undergraduate carrier, but mostly because I already feel established there and doubt I could make as much progress switching labs my final year here. So while it did not change the research that I am currently doing, it definitely will have an influence on what I will do after undergraduate. - a chemistry major I have been trying to see all the types of chemistry research that are offered at WVU, but now I hope to be able to work on more physics based projects.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad?
    • Manchester felt pretty pretty Americanized. Both are first world western countries, so there wasn’t too much of an adjustment in that area. But the differences in culture were definitely there, and I thought it was really cool to see those. For example, I was there during the soccer tournament, the Euros, and everyone there was following it. I got to watch more soccer then I ever watch here in the United States. That was pretty cool. Also everything there is really old compared to the US. I appreciated all the history, specifically the castles were really cool.
  • Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language?
    • Bits and Bops- they actually used this to say “things” Biscuits - this is how they called cookies. It sounded healthier than cookies to me though, so I ate a lot of biscuits with my tea over there
  • Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad?
    • There were lots of little differences that were kind of annoying. I didn’t like how public bathrooms were all pay bathrooms, and there were always two faucets, one for hot and one for cold. The hot was not supposed to be drinkable I think. Also the obvious answer, I definitely was homesick at some points during the trip. Being so far away made it tough to call, and 10 weeks was kind of a long time to be away.
  • Q. What did you do in your free time?
    • I hung out with my coworkers sometimes after work and that was always fun. There were monthly board game nights and weekly pub nights. A couple of times they came out hiking with me. Also I had a flatmate who was French who I watched some of the Euros tournament with and would hang out with at the dorm. He found a Facebook group of other french people, So we would meet up with them and everyone cheered for France in French which I don’t understand much. I’m still in contact with him. I traveled as much as I could. I figured since I was so far away I should try to see as much as possible. I made it to London, Edinburgh, Wales, a city in the south, and some nearby parks for weekend and day trips. I got to do some hiking, which is something that I like to do in the US. The landscape was a lot different, so that was interesting to see.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done or seen while abroad?
    • Earlier I mentioned how the historical sites were always much older than anything you would see in the united states. So I guess just seeing different architecture and learning about historical buildings and sites were the most interesting. Also, a big fan of castles. There are none of those in the US that I know of.
  • Q. What advice would you offer others thinking of going abroad?
    • Make the most out of it. It was over pretty quickly.
  • Q. What skills have you learned abroad?
    • I learned how to use their public transportation. The train system was a lot better the ours in the US. Apparently it gets even better in mainland Europe. Also I did most of my travel solo, so I got good at being by myself which is kind of a skill.
  • Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known?
    • I think that everything I did was a learning experience, even if it wasn’t the coolest(travel-wise mostly), so I would do that all the same. Maybe I should have been more prepared for the weather. The stereotype of bad weather and England was definitely true