As a recipient of the go abroad fund, I used it to fund travel to Vancouver, Canada. Here I attended the 43rd International Herpesvirus Workshop which was held at the University of British Colombia. This is the premier conference for herpesvirus biology with attendee’s coming from all over the world. Whilst at the conference, I presented both an oral presentation and poster on research I have carried out during my doctoral studies. This was an amazing experience being able to interact with others in the field and discuss science in such a brilliant setting at the UBC.
After the conference had finished, I took a few days to explore the city of Vancouver as who wouldn’t when travelling such a long distance from Edinburgh! Whilst there, I spent time cycling around Stanley park as well as getting a panoramic view of the whole of Vancouver from city lookout which was around 45 floors high. Other highlights included the very trendy Granville island public market and attending a Vancouver Whitecaps football match where the team won 4-2.
I don’t mind long distance travel and presenting in front of crowds is something that I actually enjoy as weird as it might seem. I guess one of the worries was travelling to a new city and not knowing my way around but like most North American cities, Vancouver is laid out in a grid system with an excellent transportation network so getting about was relatively easy. One thing that did also play on my mind was networking as it is of such crucial importance in academia to make the right impressions/make contact with people. This was something that I should not have worried about so much as whilst it is a large international conference, the field is still relatively small and so everyone who I spoke to was very friendly and approachable.
The core of this trip was a scientific conference and so I learnt a great deal by the way of key note speakers, seminars and area specific workshops. This will greatly contribute to my overall/general knowledge of the field as well as giving me new ideas for my thesis which I should really be writing instead of swanning off to foreign lands! As well as this core learning element, the trip has also enhanced my networking and communication skills with people outside of the university. This is invaluable experience going forward as I look to progress my career in academia.
Overall, the trip has been an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. Vancouver is an amazing city and in my short time there I barely scratched the surface as to what’s on offer year round, its somewhere I would love to go again given the chance. I would like to thank the principal and EUSA for assisting me by way of this fund for helping me to get to Vancouver and learn from this unique experience.