Around February this year I went to Hahndorf, South Australia, for the annually organised AZIAM conference. It was an awesome conference which covered all kinds of applied mathematics fields. Many scholars and students went there to share their latest progress or publications. I found it a great place to talk about my research, because people actually cared about what I was talking about, and I made a lot of friends and potential future working partners.

It was also a great place to practice my presentation skills. As an international student, we need to constantly take ourselves out of the comfort zone, and directly present our research outcome in front of an audience. We definitely will come across some difficult questions, which require thinking and answering in English as quickly and accurately as possible. This propels us to learn! Another thing you may find are topics which you didn’t know you had an interest. Also, if you have been doing the same kind of thing for a long time, and do not know what the next step is, it may help to consult some professionals for inspiration. A conference is a great place. Lastly, I liked the layback, casual atmosphere, without the loss of an academic touch.

My research is about analysing the characteristics of dispersive shock waves in nonlinear wave equation. I did my talk on the third day of the conference, which was based on the results of my paper “Optical dispersive shock waves in defocusing colloid media”. Right after the talk, I didn’t think I did a good job. Mostly because I realised that I had mistaken one spatial variable as a time variable. I felt really bad. Surprisingly, my supervisor Tim told me I did a good job. This made me really happy. I guess sometimes you are better than you think you are.

Overall, I had a splendid time, and learned a few more tricks of presentation skill and other people’s research.

Xin An

Xin An is a current student from the School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics at the University of Wollongong.