By: Kaylee Marlania Roupas
Major: Linguistics & Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Minor: French & International Studies
Program: NSF Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE) Program
Over the summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to conduct my own research experiment at an institution abroad through the NSF PIRE program (http://cls.psu.edu/pire/). I spent the months of May, June, and part of July in Nijmegen, the Netherlands running participants in a study investigating how bilinguals process language. The Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds are what enabled me to finish coding and analyzing my Dutch data, which was a critical component of my experience.) Aside from providing me with invaluable first-hand experience in conducting research, this experience helped me grow as a person in so many different ways. Being alone in a foreign country was certainly a challenging experience, but it also gave me the chance to develop stronger communication skills, particularly in a new culture. I became sensitive to the cultural norms of the people with whom I was interacting, and I ended up adopting some of these ideas into my own life. I was challenged to push my own limits, to explore a new country, to reach out to new people, and to create connections with others that have permanently shaped how I will work with people in the future. As much as I would love to discuss all of the specific quirky Dutch customs, crazy-but-confusing public transportation situations, and all of the amazing memories I made, I will keep this post relatively short. If you would like to hear more about my adventures and the experiences of my PIRE cohorts (in Spain, China, Germany, and Wales), you can visit our blog at http://cls.psu.edu/PIRE/blog/2013/05/.