Beijing-bound!

Hello! As implied by the less-punny title of this blog, it appears that I’m heading to Beijing next week! Trust me – I’m about as surprised about this as you might be. Especially after I thought I had had my fill of academic trips abroad, what with Copenhagen last week. So let me explain.

About a month ago, when I returned to CASS after graduating, I had a conversation with Tony McEnery where he told me about an opportunity to present at an undergraduate conference in Beijing. The Beijing Foreign Studies University had sent an invitation for one student at from Lancaster to travel over there and present on one of a range of topics, including cultural studies, english literature, media and communication studies and, importantly, language studies. Tony suggested that I put together an abstract for a potential presentation and I jumped at the chance. Within three hours I had picked an assignment from my undergraduate degree (what else other than my corpus-based analysis of the same-sex marriage debate?) and condensed it down into a 300 word abstract.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Just as I sent my abstract to Tony I heard that another department had seemingly been going through the same hurried undergrad-presenter recruitment process and someone else had already been chosen. So that was that, and I tried to forget the idea of travelling to Beijing as quickly as it had appeared.

Imagine, then, my surprise when on Friday evening, after an entire month of forgetting everything about my brief flirt with presenting in China, an email appears entitled “Notice of Acceptance”. Notice of acceptance for what? I thought – and indeed it was confirmation that my abstract had in fact been accepted and that I was invited to present in Beijing on September 14th! As it happens Tony had sent my abstract in anyway on the off-chance that the organisers might like it anyway – and it seems they did!

So with that I’m jetting off on Thursday next week for a three night stay at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, where I will present on the Saturday at the “Boya Forum 2013” undergraduate conference. Since my audience will be mainly undergraduate or recently graduated students from a variety of non-linguistic fields I’ll be treating my talk as a bit of a “demo” of corpus-based linguistic methods. So in this sense I’ll be very proudly waving the CASS flag and doing a bit of a sales pitch for all things corpus-related.

I’m incredibly excited to head out there next week and give a talk in a completely different setting, and I’m especially pleased that the other Lancaster student presenting there is George Potter, who I already know and can’t wait to see his talk! It sounds like a setting where students on a similar academic level but from very different backgrounds will be able to come together and share ideas.

Of course, I’ll be back with a full follow-up on how I get on, but in the mean time wish me luck while I very unexpectedly go Beijing-bound!

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