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Scholar Highlights for Week Ending February 3, 2012

February 6, 2012


First, I have to mention that the weeks are going by fairly quickly. I have not gone on as many “excursions” as I would have liked, but there is still time. Just recently, I signed up for an Olympic trial for swimming in March at Olympic park with Arcadia. So even though I won’t be able to see the Olympics, I will at least see the inside of the stadium. This past weekend at China Town was an experience, mostly because we had the chance to explore China Town (aka London’s Time Square). We somehow managed to miss the speeches, the fireworks and some of the dancers. I think we were so thrilled with the area that we just went wherever we liked. While this day trip was not as successful as I anticipated, research has been going pretty well.

At this stage, I have done a generous amount of C++ coding and exploring of the Internet to get a better handle on group theory. To become familiar with the characteristics of the upper half plane of the complex field, I ran the C++ programs I wrote a few times and collected data to see trends in the results. Using C++ in this way has really helped to sharpen my coding skills, so I am excited about that. Still, I have not had much time to gather references and do much reading on my own. Following this procedure, in order to become more familiar with free groups, the elements of the group, and the index, I have rented a few books from the school library. I plan to complete a large amount of the research paper by the end of next week with the help of the books I have borrowed.

At the beginning of this process I was very uncertain how things would go, but I am becoming more comfortable with the topic and what is expected of me, so I am optimistic about the outcome. In actuality, I think I am doing a better job of getting a handle on the academic atmosphere than the social one.

Even though this is an English speaking country, the accents are sometimes so thick that I can’t make out what the person is saying even though they are speaking the same language! (Which reaffirms my choice to travel to an English speaking country. I can’t imagine the issues I would have had otherwise). At this point though, I’ve learned I just need to put in about 25% more effort to listen carefully than I normally would so that I don’t miss anything.

Regardless of the “language barrier”, I have gotten fairly comfortable here. My mother does not encourage this as this can have negative affects on my safety, but I have to say that is a compliment for the area that I became very comfortable very quickly. I expected to like the area in which my university is placed, but I did not expect for it to feel home-like by February. Even though being here is hectic because of research, modules, and wanting to see the city, I have had time to reflect a bit about my experience here.

I tend to despise a lot of things most people focus on in the US, and unfortunately, my views on those things have not changed. However, what I have realized is that there are truly more similarities than differences between the states and the UK. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to generalize the United States or to generalize the UK. It is clear that drivers in the UK have their steering wheel on the “wrong” side of the car, but things begin to break down as you try and create a general view of people in either location. I think that’s been the best part about being here. Every single day I see someone and think, “Oh wow, they look just like ‘so-and-so’!” so I’m reminded that even though we’re separated by physical distance, we are all here on the same earth together; Sharing the same water, the same food, the same resources.


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