This past July I was given the opportunity to travel to Zurich, Switzerland for the 2015 European Conference on Psychological Assessment (ECPA). As a PhD student studying clinical psychology, being able to attend a conference as renowned as the ECPA was beyond exciting! As an individual who self-claims to be consistently plagued with the travel-bug (i.e. consistently itching to travel wherever and whenever), the fact that the conference was in Zurich made this opportunity even more thrilling.
I had seen my fair share of photos of Zurich and read and read the conference programme before my trip, however the city and conference both exceeded my expectations. The EAPA conference was attended by delegates and presenters from all throughout Europe and beyond. Hearing about new, innovative ideas and up-and-coming psychological assessment techniques was right up my research-driven alley. In my own PhD project I conduct a wide-range of neuropsychological assessments, so hearing about how those assessments are being improved upon or utilized in unique populations was fascinating and extremely useful.
On top of the wide-range of poster- and oral-presentations, there were phenomenal key-note presenters, a meet the editor Q&A session, and great conference food (for those who frequent conferences, you will understand the importance of the last point). I was also able to meet a wide-range of other delegates and presenters which enabled me to ask questions of other research-minded individuals and share ideas.
On the evenings I had free I was able to explore! Zurich is picturesque, welcoming, and filled with surprises. Although I had seen pictures of the tourist-frequented places in Zurich, I had no idea how beautiful the city would be as a whole. There are parks and walking/biking paths everywhere, and therefore always people out and about enjoying the great weather. I was able to run on a completely different route every morning, allowing me to run through the busy city paths, around lake Zurich and on the more hilly, remote/quiet paths surrounding the city. I was staying in a small flat with a kitchen, so I was also able to (somewhat) learn to cook with ingredients commonly found in Swiss supermarkets that are often hard to find here.
Overall, I had a great experience and am very thankful I was given the opportunity to attend the ECPA conference in a city as beautiful as Zurich. The Principals Go Abroad Fund enabled me to fully enjoy this wonderful experience, and for that I am very thankful. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to submit an application to endeavour in an international experience, as it is something I would do all over again given the opportunity!