Daniel Levin studies at a private school in Boston. Every year during the holidays, he prefers not to sit at home but go to other countries - to learn languages, to get acquainted with the national culture, to acquire new knowledge. He decided to spend his latest vacation in Russia, at Tomsk State University.
Daniel arrived in Tomsk at the invitation of Michael Myagkov, a professor at the University of Oregon who is also a scientific director of two of TSU’s laboratories. A special programme was designed for the young trainee: for five weeks, he will work in these laboratories and will be trained in the Summer School of the Russian Language, which is organized annually by the University for international students.
- I have been studying the Russian language for a year, and decided that a trip to Russia would help me to learn it better and to learn more about your country, - says Daniel Levin. - I also like to study psychology, and this training provides me this opportunity. In addition, I have always been interested in testing my strength in writing programs. Last summer, I became acquainted with programming in the Java language, but I like the Python language that I’m studying here more. At first, I found it difficult to speak and understand the Russian language. Now I’m experiencing some difficulties, but it has become much easier. It was a similar situation with the programming. And I always have assistance and explanations if there is something I do not know - says the trainee.
For the first two weeks, Daniel worked in the Laboratory of Big Data and Problems of Society, where under the supervision of Vyacheslav Gojko he mastered programming in Python and studied analysis of friendly connections in social networks. In the second laboratory, Experimental Methods in Social and Cognitive Sciences, with senior colleagues he will conduct experiments that study collective interaction and social decision-making mechanisms, to gain experience with the equipment used for control of psycho-physiological indicators of human activity.
During the five weeks here Daniel wants to get to know the University, the city, and a variety of people. In the USA there are certain stereotypes about Russia and Siberia, but TSU’s guest considers that they do not correspond to reality.
- You have very friendly and hospitable people - he smiles. - In the family where I’m living now, the dinner often includes guests. In the US, we usually have only family gather for dinner. Also, the fact that in Russia people often greet each other by shaking hands was unusual for me. In the US a handshake is used only during the first meeting or to show respect to a very important person.