On a cloudy, rainy …late October day such as today…I find it hard to find focus to do work. Part of me wants to nap all day, but part of me wants to reconnect with something inspirational and start writing. Because this isn’t my personal blog, there are certain opinions and ideas that I will have to leave out. However, I was reflecting on certain things today about my “grad life” experience.
One of those things is that I went to Brno, Czech Republic last year for the Cyberspace conference to give a talk on cyberbullying and empathy last year. It was an interesting conference on cyberlaw and cyberpsychology and I met many scholars from all over the world – and got to exchange notes. I was invited to present as part of the cyberpsychology stream – where many others had similar presentations about problematic internet use and depression, social networking and youth, etc.
My trip was partially funded by the Education Graduate Students Society travel grants program which I received and partially funded through one of my workplaces, AJOI. Before presenting at a conference in a country completely unbeknownst to oneself, it’s important to do your homework. Find out a little about the cultural traits, a bit of background information on the history as well as political structure and sociocultural facts about the country; find out about what they’ve done in terms of research in your field of study; as well as what their worldview is and what school of thought is being taught in their particular university. I think it’s quite important not to go in thinking everyone is on the same exact page. We’re used to being on the same page in Canada, but it’s not the same everywhere else and of course it would be wrong to assume so.
Here are some pictures of the event from last fall. These first two are of one of the snack breaks and of my sign-up at the registration desk. It was quite a ways to Brno – first it was necessary to fly into Prague and then take a bus to Brno! It was quite a long trek. I was happy to finally get there.
The trip was wonderful and going to the conference was very fruitful in the end, not only for networking and learning more about others’ research, but as an experience in presenting a paper at a conference – in a place very far from home! I would recommend it to anyone pursuing graduate studies, if you are open to new cultures and traditions and like to travel as much as I do.
While we’re on the topic of Europe, I was wondering what anyone’s thoughts are on U2’s song Zooropa (from the Zooropa album). What does it mean to you?