EOU2019 really helped me to increase my motivation, renew and consider others´ ideas and approaches about my research

Sometimes big conferences can be overwhelming for a PhD student (or at least for me, and friends I have talked about it with) – there are many researchers you would like to meet, research groups you are interested in, many talks you want to attend, etc. This increases if you have the pressure of giving a talk in second language that you do not master 100%.

I think this is a feeling many people have but nobody talks about it: the urgent to visit the toilets a minute before your talk; all the practicing in front of the mirror; etc. In essence, it is a great opportunity to push your own boundaries and show yourself that you are capable of doing it and even do it well (or at least acceptably).

I had the opportunity to present my talk “The importance of environmental favourability and habitat in the decline of the European Turtle Dove in Spain” in the Conservation session at EOU2019 in Cluj Napoca, Romania in August. I explained how the globally threatened European Turtle Dove is declining in Spain and how this decline is spatially associated with environmental variables (mainly land use). During the same session I found especially inspiring the talk by Alain Jacot which highlighted the importance of keeping natural habitat interspersed with crops to harbour high biodiversity and mitigate the impacts of agricultural intensification.

Everyone says that networking is something important if you want to develop a research career, but I did not fully understood this until EOU2019. I had the opportunity to meet many researchers that gave me feedback about my work, provided new ideas, and suggestions that make me grow as an early career researcher, and I was able to establish one future collaboration with other researchers. I am sure that this would not have happened if I had not had the opportunity to attend EOU2019 thanks to the member travel award I was awarded from the BOU.

Conferences are more than just talks, workshops and meetings about science: you have the chance to meet incredible people, cultures, cities and landscapes. During the first day, there was a street festival outside the venue in the cute old city centre of Cluj Napoca where I had the opportunity to eat “kürtőskalács”, a spit cake I recommend everyone to try. During the mid-conference excursions I also enjoyed a hike in Sălciua de Jos, a rocky region with a beautiful waterfall. Although the tour seemed to start with a beautiful sunny day and the views were awesome, suddenly a huge storm arrived and we had to walk for a couple of hours in heavy rain that resulted in some slips and funny anecdotes.

To sum up, EOU2019 really helped me to increase my motivation, renew and consider others´ ideas and approaches about my research. It was a great experience in all meanings.