DEN Conference - 2024

DEN’s Conference: Inspiring My Future Aspirations

DEN’s Conference: Inspiring My Future Aspirations

Earlier this year, I attended a DEN event on cultural diversity. While speaking with Farhang, I was offered an opportunity to present at the Annual DEN International Student Conference in May. As soon as I was asked, I doubted myself. I wondered, “Will I be brave enough to do this?” I rarely speak up in class, let alone in a lecture theatre filled with people from all different walks of life. When I got home, I kept thinking about it and ultimately decided that this would be a fantastic opportunity. I knew I would regret it if I said no and saw all my friends present without me on that same panel.

I decided to revise the presentation I created for the Thailand Field Trip in December 2023. The presentation focused on the Influence of Criminal Organizations in Bangkok, Thailand. I enjoyed updating this presentation and conducting additional research to tailor it to my field of study in International Relations and Development.

I designed the presentation with my fellow students and peers in mind. It was important to me to present something niche, interesting, and maybe even slightly ‘taboo’. I talked about strict policing laws and their international effects and even mentioned the politics within Thailand. Receiving good feedback from other students made me feel fantastic and boosted my confidence in my work. This was something I was so nervous to do—I could feel my hands trembling on the microphone!

Aside from presenting, I had the chance to enjoy the other students’ presentations. This was my first DEN conference, and although I had a slight idea of what to expect – the conference exceeded my expectations more than I could have ever thought. The students had such brilliant topics that they had dived so deep into. I really appreciated the variety of the topics and all the planning that went into the panels – it really paid off speaking as an audience member. From the Rwandan Genocide to Language Acquisitions to Biomedical Science Perspectives, to Thai Politics and UK Politics – everything in the social sciences and beyond you could think of. 

We were visited by college students from the City of Islington College – these students were brave enough to stand up in front of university students and faculty and talk about their experiences, hopes, and aspirations for their future careers and education. I appreciated this segment; I saw myself in these boys who stood up and spoke – the honesty they had and the doubts they had within themselves throughout their education so far stood out to me. Although I didn’t perhaps ‘find myself’ during college/sixth-from education – I certainly think that now, in my Second Year, I am feeling much more inspired for my future aspirations, and DEN and Farhang have certainly been a huge part of that. The conference ends with a lovely meal and drinks to share with fellow students and staff members. The atmosphere was perfect, hearing people discuss presentations, hop from table to table to speak to everyone, the laughing and the smiles on people’s faces – it was evident to me that DEN’s conference is certainly a special day for all and something I certainly want to be involved with time and time again.

Katie Bracci

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