The Newsletter and Studying Abroad

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Our department‘s Winter Newsletter is here! Which, admittedly, is primarily interesting for people who have been to our department or at least stopped by and asked to borrow a calculator or snag some of the food that often is around, usually right within sight of the sign that says no food is allowed. Today it’s homemade raisin bread left over from a late afternoon Science/Math Division meeting.

One reason this newsletter is neat is that two of the articles were written by students who spent time abroad last fall: Emily did part of her student teaching in Wales through a college program, and Pam studied in Budapest on the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, a program for college students in North America to go take math classes (in English) with Hungarian professors for a semester.

Pam’s trip was especially exciting to me because I studied in the same program, and my office has a bunch of pictures from my time there. That was an amazing experience, from the moment I arrived (in Vienna, because I though it would be fun to stop there for a few days en route, but it wasn’t until I arrived in the airport in August, completely exhausted, with 4 months worth of belongings, that it occurred to me that maybe, maybe I should have tried to find a student hostel or hotel room ahead of time) to the week I left (when the Hungarian woman I lived with gave birth to a beautiful daughter. She came back home the day before I left — did you know that in Hungary women spend an entire week in the hospital after childbirth? Or at least used to.). And in between I took math classes and drank kávé and traveled around and read Shōgun three times because it was the only book I brought.

So the Budapest Semesters is a fabulous program. I’ve also heard good things about Math in Moscow. As far as I know, those are the only two study-abroad programs designed around math. We did have a student a few years ago go on a college program to Australia and she was able to take some math there, although that was only an option at the Melbourne campus. (I don’t quite understand that — I gather that not every campus offers upper-level math classes? I heard the same thing about Britain, actually, but I’m not sure I really understand how their university system works.)

So it was really fun reading about how much Emily and Pam enjoyed being abroad. And maybe gave me a touch of the wanderlust.

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