This summer, I visited the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada to attend the 43rd International Herpesvirus Workshop. This is the first international conference I’ve attended since I started my PhD study in 2016.
Being one of the lucky recipients of the Go Abroad Fund, I was also given an indispensable opportunity to present a talk and a poster at the conference. At first, the idea of standing in front of many internationally renowned scientists talking about my work was a little scary and thrilling, especially when my research was just starting to take off. However, knowing that this would be a stepping stone for me to introduce myself into the field of Herpesvirology or general virology, I spent hours and days practicing and polishing my presentation to a professional level.
On the first day of the conference when I was due to present, everyone was excited to begin the 5-day conference with a day-worth of short talks on all sort of topics. As a young scientist, I was nervous and worried that I would stutter and go overtime during my presentation. However, luckily my talk started after a tea break, and I was able to calm myself down with a giant piece of sponge cake. The sugar rush gave me the courage and strength to speak confidently and professionally on stage, and I even received a few appraisals from some senior researchers. My supervisor was impressed that I’d have appetite before presenting, but I guess he doesn’t know much about stress eating.
Attending this international event was invaluable because I was able to witness several outstanding research projects and met lots of potential employers. I’ve made friends with scientists working in various institutes worldwide and on different aspects of herpesvirology. I’ve also learnt the differences in work environment and lifestyle among countries, and the advantages and disadvantages of taking a job abroad.
I’ve fully enjoyed this educational trip and wished I’d be able to explore Vancouver more than I planned. The city is truly phenomenal. The nature and the culture are so pure to the soul. I wish to attend the conference again next year, which will be held in Tennessee, USA, and be a representative of the University of Edinburgh once more.
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, overlooking the sea.
Me standing next to my poster.
Me during my presentation on the first day.
The Museum of Anthropology where we had the banquet on the final day of the conference.
Me and my supervisor at the banquet.