Levi Schult

NCRA, India
Undergraduate Institution
University of Virginia
Graduate program, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Vanderbilt University

What country were you staying in?

Q. Where were you doing research?
National Center for Radio Astrophysics

Q. How long were you there?
2 months

Q. What sort of research were you doing?
My research focused on using new software to analyze the times of arrival of radio signals from pulsars in order to improve the timing precision of the pulsar. I focused on the millisecond pulsar J1646-2142 and comparing the two methods of creating times of arrival.

Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing?
Yes! I had never worked with data from the GMRT (NCRA’s premier radio telescope array) and it was fascinating to engage with a new dataset and institution.

Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad?
Experiencing such a different culture! I had such an amazing time learning about the food, people, and places that surrounded me! 

Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language?
Bhaya - Brother or Behen - Sister

Q. What's the hardest thing about being abroad?
I had a little bit of homesickness halfway through the summer, but I really enjoyed all of my time abroad. I really enjoyed India as it was so unknown to me but there were definitely times when I just wanted to be comfortable at home in a place I knew extremely well. 

Q. What did you do in your free time?
We traveled around India and explored many attractions in and around Pune! So much fun trying out restaurants and going on hikes into the clouds during monsoon season. Truly an out of this world experience if you want some adventure in your life. 

Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done or seen while abroad?
One of the coolest things was hiking Rajgad fort! We kept climbing higher and higher as we got completely drenched by the rains. We went through waterfalls and found monkeys up in the parts of the mountain surrounded by clouds. It was fantastic, with some of the best views I have ever seen! 

Q. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done or seen while abroad?
Something that wasn’t weird but just very different from the US was the open air butchers on the side of the street. 

Q. What advice would you offer others thinking of going abroad?
If you enjoy adventure or want to go outside of your comfort zone, I cannot recommend it enough. It is so much fun to jump in and fully embrace a culture and place so different from one that you are used to! 

Q. What skills have you learned abroad?
I learned a lot about how to negotiate with people for transportation. I also learned how to cook a few dishes which is so exciting! I learned more than I could possibly write about India as a culture and country from my friends there. 

Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known?
I don’t think I would have changed anything! I got to do a lot of new things and only wish I had more time!