International Summer Research Program in Gravitational-Wave Physics:
Research Experiences for Undergraduates around the world


Currency: You will be traveling to a foreign country which uses a currency different from the United States dollar. Learn what it is and what its value is before you leave home.

Language: Even when in an english speaking country, many of our hosts have a mother tongue which is not your own. Learn a little about the language you will visit, and it's historical relation to or influence on English.

Culture: Not only will currency be different, but culture will be different too (even when you think you understand the language). Find out something about the culture you will be visiting, and respect the differences you come across.

Food: Visit open markets and find out about the differences in shopping for food. While American fast food will be available in some places, you will be doing yourself a great disservice if you do not subject yourself to the learning experience offered by encountering the different approach to food evident in your host country.

History: Countries that you may be visiting have histories which go back several millennia at least. Find out some-thing about the historical context you will be visiting and keep an eye out for its presence while you are abroad.

Housing: Housing varies depending on circumstances. You may be in a student dorm or in private accommodation arranged for you. In either case, it will probably be nothing like anything you are used to. Be prepared for surprises.

Students: At many host sites, you will encounter other students from an extraordinarily broad range of nationalities. Take the opportunity to get to know some of them and learn about their diverse backgrounds.

Travel: You may be invited to visit other national laboratories or other gravitational wave laboratories. That would provide an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about how research is conducted abroad.

Luggage: Many airlines make charges for baggage, and even more for luggage which is excessive, over weight or oversized. Plan to travel with one piece of luggage which weighs less than 50 pounds when fully packed, and whose total dimensions (length plus breadth plus depth) is less than 62 inches. This will make your travel easier.

Voltage: All the countries we send students to use a mains voltage between 220 and 240 volts, oscillating at 50 Hz rather than the 110 to 120 volta oscillating at 60 Hz that we are used to in the US. Most laptop power supplies can accommodate this change, but you should check to make certain, as a mistake could be very expensive. Without a heavy (costly) power transformer, most high power devices, such as hair dryers and irons, will not be compatible. Thus, you may need to obtain these devices at your destination rather than bringing them with you. Also note that the power plugs and sockets are very different around the world, so you will need to have plug/socket adaptors appropriate for your destination.

Phones: Check with you provider to find out if they can offer you service abroad and, if so, be sure you understand clearly what all the costs will be. You may find it is more economical to use a local phone card at your destination, since it is often possible to get relatively inexpensive service from a local provider for the duration of your stay.