Attending a conference in Yantai
Via the info provided by my professor at Ocean University -- where I'm taking a graduate class in labor policy -- I found out about a large conference taking place in Yantai, Shandong in mid-October. The conference was the 4th annual Labor Relations Research Conference, which is organized and run by the Chinese Human Resources Research Association. I submitted a paper in the conference and was invited to give a talk on my research, like any other participate who submits a paper. When I showed up as the only foreigner in a group of 120-130 participants, there were some looks expressing, "Did he make a wrong turn somewhere?" But after I made my report on the afternoon of the first day, many people expressed more confidence in my participation in the conference, supposedly because they figured that I could actually participate in the conversation about their area of research. Moreover, a sociology professor from Qinghua University was listening to my report and made some good suggestions during the Q&A period. I ended up making many great connections at this conference, including a few PhD students and professors, some of which have already discussed the potential to do research together with me. One professor in Shanghai has already emailed me about perhaps going down there in December to work on a survey of workers with her. In all, it was a great experience, both allowing me to exchange with experts in my field and share some of my research with them.