Adele Quigley-McBride from Wellington is completing a PhD in Psychology specialising in psychology, law, and forensics, at the Iowa State University on her Fulbright New Zealand Science and Innovation Award. She graduated with an LLB and BSc with first class Honours in 2014 from Victoria University of Wellington.
I could not have asked for a better introduction to USA culture and Graduate School than I have gotten here at Iowa State University.
I arrived in Iowa early to settle into my apartment, and my supervisor took me to Des Moines to experience the Saturday market. Then, I went to a five-day Gateway Orientation in Illinois, hosted by Northern Illinois University. After spending a week with people from all over the world and learning about the USA, myself, and other cultures, I returned to Ames, Iowa to begin my Psychology classes and Graduate work.
The research aspect of Graduate school has been the most rewarding part of the program so far, but also the most challenging. It is wonderful to see your ideas taking shape and your research projects begin, but the expectations are very high and there are speedbumps everywhere.
However, regular classes help to provide structure and some familiar study settings to balance out the trials that research can offer. The Faculty members, particularly my supervisor, are always happy to help when I have problems, and are very supportive academically and more generally.
The students are keen to collaborate and work together, which I love, and I have really enjoyed hearing about other people’s backgrounds and projects and watching them unfold.
In addition, I have been quick to make a large group of local friends who I spend my free time with.
There is an interesting music scene in Ames, so I have gotten involved in that and have even performed singing duets at a couple of small, local events. I also got to attend the Iowa State Fair with a group of other Graduate students, which was extremely fun and a good “sample” of American culture.
There are frequently craft and art fairs in the area that I have been making sure to attend. Other people have been good at inviting me to traditional events as well – I attended a pumpkin carving hosted by one member of the Faculty, and my supervisor has invited me to his Thanksgiving.
There are not many international students in the Psychology department, so my accent and sayings continue to be a source of amusement for everyone. Now that it is entering the fall season, they have all been very good at helping me to locate snow gear and get ready for the shock that will come with the winter weather.
I very much look forward to the rest of my time here at Iowa State University.
The Fulbright Science & Innovation Graduate Awards are for promising New Zealand graduate students to undertake postgraduate study or research at US institutions in fields targeted to support growth and innovation in New Zealand. Applications close 1 August annually.