Slowly... but surely.

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Photo on 2011-05-19 at 14.22.jpgThe project has been advancing slowly over the past 2.5 weeks here, but surely. There are several factors that contribute to that: the building where the eye-tracker is located is closed on the weekends, the studio is used by other people as well so one has to reserve its use for a specific time, and I've had to be trained to calibrate the eye-tracker.

The woman who's eye-tracker it is, Beryl Hilberink, has been the one training me in its operation. She's a professor in the Business Communication department here at Radboud University. She has been incredibly helpful and is a very nice soul, so I owe much of my progress to her!

Starting sometime midweek, I should be able to start running my very first participants! I've been practicing calibration on various people, including random students in the library (where the studio with the eyetracker is) who I politely ask if they could help me with an experiment for a few minutes. I've also been helped by three graduate students of Dr. van Hell's: Arjan, Carissa, and Joke.

Luckily, there have been no technical issues encountered at all. Everything has thus far bee compatible with the equipment over here. It's just been a matter of practicing and learning when the room, and Beryl and the others, are free.

As for the rest of my stay in Nijmegen, it's going well. I've settled in and I've gotten a pretty regular daily routine going, my favorite part of which is biking and hiking the surrounding areas of Nijmegen during the day - they're gorgeous and well-cared for. Biking across the Germany border, which Nijmegen is very near, is a fun thing to do!

I've been attempting to learn what little of the language I can while I'm here. I had wanted to take courses on the language, but when I started investigating the programs early on I quickly discovered they were surprisingly expensive, upwards of $2500! I was pretty surprised. I even attempted to haggle the international student rate out of the University here (which is about a 1/3 of the price) but they wouldn't let me seeing as I am not a student here. Oh well, it was worth a shot. So I've been left to reading, hearing, and websites with some instruction in Dutch. I took German for a year and I've retained the knowledge of it I learned. This helps with some words as well as most of the syntax, but the phonology and orthography is vastly different, which practically nullifies any German background. I can conduct basic restaurant/store transactions, do introductions, and be able to grasp what certain signs are saying. I believe very strongly in any attempt whatsoever to speak the native of language of wherever one currently happens to be. And guess what - most natives you encounter will too! Even if it as simple as 'hello' and 'thank you' it goes a long way to prove that you are not another person from an anglophone country who feels they have the right to bestride the planet and speak English to everyone without ever making an effort themselves.

Hopefully I can have a knowledge about on par with my German by the time I leave.
Because of the Belgian market in Wallonia, many products I encounter are labelled in Dutch and French, which is quite helpful as this is the language I primarily study.

The one downside to Nijmegen is I have terrible allergies here. Depending on the location I'm in, I can get them pretty bad. Luckily in State College I never get them. Some days are worse than others here, of course... on the bad days it's constant sneezing, nose-blowing, eye-itching allergies during the daytime... luckily, the Benadryl equivalent here works wonders.

Some pictures of the lab. I don't have a digital camera with me so I can't take any pictures when I'm out and about... that might change however, I'm considering buying one. These were taken on my laptop:   

Thumbnail image for Photo on 2011-05-19 at 14.20.jpgThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Photo on 2011-05-19 at 11.25.jpg

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This is a great picture, James! I'm glad that you've been successfully learning how to track with the Eyelink II. It'll make working with the Eyelink 1000 in the future a real cinch. Please go hunt down Papiamentu speakers, too! Just look for any Antillean restaurants that may be around.

Thanks for the picture! It's fun to see how everything is set-up. I hope running the first participants goes well. Look forward to another update!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by JAMES RAY GRAHAM published on May 22, 2011 4:04 AM.

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