I had the great fortune of receiving the Go Abroad Fund to attend the European Second Language Association’s 29th Conference in Lund, Sweden, at the end of August 2019. The European Second Language Association (EuroSLA) is a society for people with a research interest in second languages. The organization has grown from small beginnings and has become a large group of international scholars. Though the annual conferences take place in Europe, the EuroSLA network extends throughout the world, and being invited to present ones work to attendees is an honour and an important experience for all academics studying Linguistics.
I presented my PhD work on bilingualism and literacy in poster format. Posters are often used to share information and are an important part of many conferences, seminars and exhibitions. As a student pursuing a doctorate, receiving positive and critical feedback from colleagues is incredibly important to my development as a researcher and the progress of my study. The positive notes that I received renewed my passion for my project and encouraged me to consider once more its important academic and real-world applications. Critical notes, on the other hand, have encouraged me to explore new research techniques and to review my understanding of my topic. With new research emerging regularly, it is important to explore where my research rests in the Linguistics community’s developing understanding of bilingualism. I am grateful for the connections that I made through this year’s conference.
Outside of the conference, I had the freedom to explore Lund, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark. Both are small cities that can be appreciated on foot. I was fortunate to be joined by several of my University of Edinburgh colleagues in my exploration and we learned of the history and culture of each nation. I hope to return in the future to discover these cities in more depth.
I appreciate the opportunity to attend this conference and hope to participate again in the future as my research progresses. Participating in conferences is a wonderful opportunity to receive insight into the ongoing research in one’s field and can facilitate networking prospects for future partnerships. I would encourage all students – and especially postgraduates – to take every opportunity to present their work at all stages of its development.