For my international traineeship, I decided to go to Cyprus to attend a conference organized by the European Federation of Psychology Students’ Association (EFPSA). I have been involved with this organization since the summer of 2020, so I thought it would be great to meet some of the people I have been in contact with for almost two years. In 2021, I actually presented at the same conference that was held online. Therefore, I wanted to travel and experience it in person in 2022.
The topic was e-Health, or more specifically how using technology can improve the efficiency and quality of personalized (mental) health care. Topics were very diverse such as the benefits of virtual reality for mental health treatments, phenomenological approach to depression, or apps and softwares to bring therapists, doctors, and patients closer in the treatment process.
I attended many lectures and a workshop, always with my laptop to take notes and make journal of everything I learnt, read, and talked about during the conference. The lecturers were extremely enthusiastic and interesting. They truly opened my eyes to the immense progress that had been made in the intersection psychology and technology. This is true especially in the area of blended therapies, where future medical professionals are training for better personalized diagnosis and online therapy through texting. I was impressed and motivated to learn more about the progress and research done on technology-based interventions. This is because although the field is young, the opportunities are endless and it would be incredible to get involved in a research project in this particular area.
After each lecture there was a lot of discussion with a lot of students asking questions, suggesting their own ideas, or sharing personal experiences. These discussions were always extremely engaging because all of the students brought a different perspective to what we had talked about. Some of us were more interested in research, some were already doing psychotherapy and others came from various fields of psychology. The social program was also very rich with different events taking place each day and that was exactly why I wanted to attend a conference in person. After two years of doing everything online, I wanted to replace the Zoom breakout rooms with actual mingling in person. For instance, we had a Cyprus night, where we saw traditional Cyprian dances and music. There was also a movie night, a talent show and a cultural evening, where each country that participated brought something traditional and authentic to their country to share with the rest of us. That was particularly interesting and fun as I got to meet a lot of Dutch students from different Dutch universities in Cyprus and make connections with them as well.
In the end, I truly enjoyed being in Cyprus, learning so much, and having a lot of fun with my fellow psychology students from all around Europe. It was a beautiful and enriching experience and I would definitely love to attend a conference like this again!