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About tew

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    BioEng (PhD)
  1. I just have one minor point to make on the whole ID issue: paper IDs do not seem to be generally recognized. Basically no one in the US (except the DMV) accepted my home country driver's license due to the effect that it's still a paper one. Almost everyone would have accepted it as an ID if it had been plastic...
  2. Not to turn this thread too much away from its actual topic, but this is actually why I decided to use SpiderOak instead of Dropbox. They boast a zero-knowledge, full privacy policy which is much more appealing to me than the way Dropbox handles things. It's more involved to set up than Dropbox, but in turn allows for more configuration. You also usually start out with 2GB, but referrals earn both the referrer and the referree 1 extra GB, and currently there is a limited offer that starts you out with 5GB. With both referral and promo code, you start out at 6 GB! https://spideroak.com/down
  3. Honestly, I don't remember exactly anymore who told me what. Initially I was told I couldn't get one because I wasn't actually getting paid / employed. Then, I believe it was at an orientation for the specific class of exchange visitors I was in ("Visiting Student Researcher"), they told us that we actually needed to get one.
  4. A SSN can definitely be useful, especially for an extended stay. However, at least from my own limited experience, it's possible to make do without one: When I got to the US last time, I was first told that I was ineligible for a SSN. Still, I didn't really have much trouble getting a driver's license (CA) and bank account / credit card (BoA). Just had to show my passport and immigration forms. State ID is just driver's license without the driving part, so I don't think it will be different. A bit later it turned out that I wasn't ineligible but was actually required to get a SSN after all ^^.
  5. Windows 7, M.Sc. in Applied Physics, predominantly using the following software (at least on my work PC; all of the non-free stuff is fortunately free or dirt cheap for students here): Windows 7 (duh)Mathematica 7 (surprised no one else mentioned it; great CAS, simpler than MatLab)Origin Pro 8 (even more surprised no one else mentioned it; great program to work with large amounts of data, do statistics on it, plot it, fit it, etc., simpler than MatLab)LyX 2 (yes, I'm too lazy to write all the TeX code myself) (free)JabRef (bibliography software that works great with LyX and LaTeX and so fa
  6. Had my appointment yesterday. Was reasonably quick and painless (not least because lots of people who started out in the line before me had to go pay another 7 Euros in visa fees at the bank, since the exchange rate had just gone up and no one knew). The interview consisted just of a short "why", "what" (kind of research), "where", "how long", and "who's paying for it", mostly stuff that was on either the DS-2019 or DS-160 already anyhow. Then he told me that the visa was approved . Only point of annoyance is that this one is just for one year... I had hoped they might give me a five-year one
  7. Speaking as a couchsurfer (though not a terribly experienced one), I always had a great time. Bad experiences are possible - as they are basically anywhere - but unlikely. The saving money part is nice, obviously, but first and foremost it's about the people you get to meet. If you are only doing it because of the free place to stay, well, that may not work out... Anyhow, always be sure to check out previous references for the people you'd like to stay with. Identity check and vouching are also good indicators. Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to have local hostel contact information just in c
  8. Well, this time I have it comparatively easy since I still have money in the US... On my original research stay, I exchanged around $400 back home and took them with me. And during my first month, I withdrew money in large amounts at ATMs from my bank account back home when needed. The withdrawals were around the same total level of fees etc. as the exchange back home, and actually cheaper than a transfer from my home bank account to my US bank account once I had one. There should be specialized companies for large foreign currency transfers as well, but I didn't try any...
  9. Was originally also offered the Miami Gateway Orientation, but it actually overlapped with my International Orientation Week at Maryland, so they switched me to the Vanderbilt Gateway. That one I unfortunately had to turn down due to my own scheduling conflicts. Hope to see some of you at the Enrichment Seminars though! @matilda: Miami Gateway (info still from last year), Vanderbilt Gateway (up-to-date); there's quite a few more Orientations, your assignment I believe depends among other factors strongly on the start date and location of your program
  10. good one! you'll probably also be interested in the follow-up (including a referee report!) : http://www.ncbi.nlm....a-40-04-773.pdf
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