EGU was probably the best international conference I’ve been to. Despite having over 13,000 people I didn’t find it nearly as overwhelming as when I went to AGU in 2014. I’m not sure if that’s because of a different feel between Europe and the USA, if it’s the conference itself, the fact that there were more people involved in my little sub-topic, or simply because I’m further along in my PhD and thus have more confidence/experience. But it’s definitely a conference I would happily come back to.
The rest of the conference was great too – some fantastic sessions on historical climate, climate extremes, and detection & attribution, as well as interesting posters (although the alcohol ran out faster every day) and a variety of short courses (although I sadly missed out on the best ones, about science communication). Plus I had plenty of chances to explore the lovely city of Vienna, and catch up with ex-Australians I haven’t seen in years.
After the conference, I took the train through the Alps to Zurich, to visit ETH. There I managed to catch up with some recently-departed Australians, but also learn a lot more about all the excellent work done at ETH. As well as giving a longer presentation than at EGU, I had lots of opportunities to meet up with different professors and researchers to talk about my research and learn more about the science being done at the institute. And thanks to some new friends I made at EGU, I also was able to spend a day meeting people and giving another presentation in the lovely city of Bern, an hour away.
Still, it will be nice to be home. I’ve managed to teach myself the art of networking over time (which really just means having science conversations with strangers and getting to know them). Younger me would be so impressed with how 'easy' I find it to meet people now. But I’m not an extrovert by nature, so it will be lovely to just relax for a while and get back to the normal day-to-day of doing analyses, writing papers, and finishing my PhD.