In the past week or so it’s become painfully apparent that the planned conference trip will not materialise. The flight prices have been bumped up so much that not even a months’ wage will cover the cost after I pay my rent (let alone other bills). I am fortunate in the sense that the conference was only partially linked with my research so not being there will not harm me, but losing out on the social aspect is not good.
But where there is a negative there is a positive. It was my plan to network during the conference for the future. However, by changing a conference trip in the summer to a more targeted holiday/fact finding mission in the winter, my networking will be more focused and hopefully more productive in nature.
Which raised the big question – how do you create contacts in a foreign country? It’s not something that you get taught to do in any detail, and really does seem to rely on your own proverbial *ahem* balls. And whereas years in customer service-related jobs has taught me the ability to talk to pretty much anyone, the situation is different when you speak about a country that does rely on a certain amount of courtesy and manners, especially when your sole job is trying to make a good impression.
So there is my task, and there is my next challenge. Find contacts, make contacts, follow-up contacts. As my course leader told me, ‘you start by starting’. But where do you start?
In other research-related news, I am battling a disastrous writers block which I feel like I cannot shake off. It has involved a total inability to blog, or contribute to anything else I have been requested to be a part of. My gut instinct involves screaming whilst running away, but my common sense tells me to go to my department over the weekend and enjoy the quiet nights, and just trash it out for a lack of a better description. Something is better than nothing, after all.