‘Czeching’ out the 2014 EAIE conference: a newcomer’s perspective, Anne Marie Graham, Head of Programme, Go International
Earlier this year, I was invited to chair a session on Global perspectives on an ambitious outward student mobility agenda at the 2014 EAIE annual conference in Prague. As the Head of the UK Strategy on Outward Mobility and the International Unit’s Go International programme, I’ve never previously had the opportunity to attend EAIE, so I was very happy to accept the proposal and learn more about what other countries are doing to further the national agenda on outward student mobility.
For 51 weeks of the year, EAIE stands for the European Association of International Education, but it seems that, for one week in September, it stands for ‘Everybody who is Anybody in International Education’. The conference is huge: with 1000s of participants and exhibitors from over 85 countries.
The conference programme was so comprehensive that it was impossible to fit in everything that was of interest. There was also a world of people (literally!) with which to network. In fact there were so many people there from so many countries that I felt like I had circumnavigated the globe within the confines of a conference centre.
The EAIE very helpfully provides a tool where you can pull together your own agenda online for the conference, adding sessions and workshops from the conference programme, but adding your own meetings too. They also circulate a list of participants in advance, so you can arrange meetings with existing colleagues and partners, as well as set up meetings with new contacts, before you leave home.
Most of the programme events I attended were extremely popular, in fact, some sessions were so popular that I couldn’t even find a seat! The opening plenary session was inspiring, with a thought-provoking keynote from Jan Muehlfeit, Chairman of Microsoft Europe. My own session was particularly motivating and gave me lots of ideas to bring back to the UK and the Go International programme.
I learnt a lot from my first EAIE conference, so much so that I’ve already put the dates for next year’s event in Glasgow in the diary (15-18th September 2015 for anyone who is interested!).
My tips for 2015 newcomers would be:
Pack lots of business cards. You’ll be giving out more than you think. You also need to have somewhere to put all the business cards you will collect from other participants.
Look through the list of participants in advance and make sure you planas many meetings as possible using the online agenda.Itsaves so much time and ensures you get to meet everyone. Remember, you can always invite them to dinner if the day fills up!
Attend the newcomers reception, and any expert community receptions that link up with your professional profile. These are a great way to meet new contacts and build relationships
Look out for receptions hosted by individual countries, organisations and institutions throughout each day. As well as giving you fantastic networking opportunties, they are also a great opportunity to try out some national cuisine!
Photo Credit: Anne Marie Graham