In June 2019 I traveled from Edinburgh to Montreal, Canada, in advance of the 19th annual conference of the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services (IAFMHS). I volunteered as a conference steward in exchange for a $250 CAD registration fee waiver. I strongly encourage other broke students to take advantage of similar opportunities; most conferences have built-in funding for volunteers.
I spent a few hours the day before conference kicked off assembling delegates’ name badges, then left to explore the city on foot, trekking nearly 14 miles in total that day. I walked north along the canal to Old Montreal, passing the Notre Dame Basilica and wandering through RESO, the underground city (a collection of underground tunnels leading to shops and restaurants, an area covering a whopping 1.5 square miles).
I’ve included several pictures to demonstrate how I quickly blew through my conference registration fee savings. I learned that food in Canada is very expensive. Poutine upon arrival? Check. Strawberry Poptarts, Valveeta Mac & Cheese, and Cap’n Crunch? Check. $14 box of eight frozen Tacquitos was a hard pass, a decision I now feel a tinge of regret for. Poutine a second, and third time on the airport as I departed (the last joy I had before experiencing a 36-hour travel delay home, but I’ll leave those details out!).
The conference itself was chock-full of high-quality presentations and scientific posters. In between periods of volunteering as the time-keeper for others’ presentations I presented two talks on my PhD research – evaluating a model for the delivery of psychological treatment for mentally disordered offenders which was developed in Scotland. I would like to extend my thanks to the Principals Go Abroad Fund for facilitating this opportunity to travel to a new city and share my research with the leaders in the field.