Chavonne Bowen

NAOC, China
Undergraduate Institution
Notre Dame of Maryland University
Graduate Program in Atmospheric Science, Howard University

Q. What country were you staying in?

Q. Where were you doing research?
Chinese Academy of Sciences & FAST site

Q. How long were you there?
Eleven weeks

Q. What sort of research were you doing?
My research focused on Pulsar Searching and AI training which was executed in two phases: 1) Pulsar Labeling of candidates from FAST data, 2) Training and Executing an AI System to recognize and interpret the pulsar candidates.

Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing?
Yes, being abroad gave me another perspective into methods and evaluations of pulsar candidates with FAST.

Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad?
Embracing a new culture and language along with personal development and independence. 

Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language?
谢谢 (Xièxiè) or “thank you” became my favorite phrase throughout my experience abroad because whether it be working with research or sightseeing or even asking for assistance, I was grateful for warm hospitality and helpful gestures.

Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad?
Adapting to spicy food and diet changes while working remotely on site.

Q. What did you do in your free time?
Engaged in badminton tournaments, sightseeing local tourist attractions like the Great Wall or the Forbidden Palace, hiking around the beautiful landscapes surrounding theFAST site, teaching English to my friends at FAST and meditation.

Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done or seen while abroad?
Bamboo Rafting & hiking through beautiful landscapes of former rural villages in Guizhou. Enjoying a dance class outside of the Olympic Stadium

Q. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done or seen while abroad?
Visiting a local rural market with a swirling fan made out of plastic strips to keep away flies. Also adapting stares because of my hair, my accent and locals taking photos or videos of me while commuting through mostly the rural areas.

Q. What advice would you offer others thinking of going abroad?
Remember to embrace your new experience as you transition to a new culture and language; always be resilient and be open to learning something new especially about yourself.

Q. What skills have you learned abroad?
Bilingual bargaining with the local sellers and being independent in my commutes around the city areas.

Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known?
Take more initiative in learning Mandarin but I personally believe that most of my learning was done through my experience even though preparation was considered to be ideal in most cases.