I know some of the people (and by some I mean the VAST majority) in the class are second years and therefore have had some access to CHI in the past. I had dinner at Scotties with a few people last night and we talked a bit about what all went on last year and some of the fun everyone had.
I’m thinking strongly about trying to line up a trip in April (regardless of volunteer status / entry status) just to go and see Italy and visit the conference. I guess I’m curious if anyone has been to Italy before and perhaps might have some pointers for me (and the other first years) and if people have any general information / thoughts about the conference in general?
Sounds like a pretty cool experience and I would love to go!
Definitely go. Spend what money the school gives you to encourage you to go to conferences like this, even if you don’t participate in the contest. This is flat-out one of the best things you can do during your time in grad school.
Get your passport now, if you don’t have one.
I absolutely agree with Kevin. The school provides partial funding for you to go to a conference and CHI is absolutely the conference to go to. Everyone who went had a great time and came away with one or more of the following.
1) Job or internship interview offers
2) Professional contacts
3) Research collaborators
4) Invigoration from being around a bunch of fellow HCI nerds and seeing cool stuff
5) A perspective on our program and how it fits into the larger HCI domain
That’s just the quick list from my experience and I know people left with more than that.
I’ll third this: You can use CHI for whatever purpose you need, network, learn, get internships or job offers, hook-up with other random ppl in hot tubs, and of course getting your profs drunk with ridiculously named pink alcoholic beverages.
To answer the have you been there part:
I’m no expert,but my wife has been there many times and we spent about a month in Italy a while back. Florence is fan-freakin’-tastic. If you have any interest in art history especially the middles ages you will find enough art in the Uffizi to last for at least a couple of days (4 hours was enough for me personally). The Domo (the cathedral) is very unique, black & white marble in a rectangular pattern, worth the climb to the top of the bell tower.
Florence is very picturesque and has some incredible restaurants. I am planning on organizing a dinner at Da Mimo, which is my personal favorite there. I highly recommend visitng Rome (don’t bother with Milan, it’s ugly, lots of industrial stuff all over) and if you really have some time go to Sardinia, it’s is breathtakingly beautiful. Venice of course is a favorite, we only spent about 3 days there and could easily have spent several weeks there. One little hint, don’t ever eat or drink at the Piazza San Marco (the main piazza in Venice) they will rip you off big time. We paid about $55 for two drinks (sciroppo di mente, which is water with syrup) and one piece of cream cake,
I kid you not. Pisa was the other place we went, and except the tower and surrounding gardens, it wasn’t that much to see, although you will need to take the obligatory look I’m holding up the tower pic like I did. I uploaded about 300 photos to Flikr a couple years ago from out trip, but because I’m no longer a “pro” account holder most have disappeared, those jerks! Stupid Flikr letting itself get bought by Yahoo. Here’s what’s left: http://flickr.com/photos/98597456@N00/tags/europetrip2003/
There are a lot of other places to go, but I’m assuming that none of us will have a lot of time/money.
Attending CHI is among the best decisions you can make as a grad student in this program. The benefits are so diverse, from the explicit (see the state of the field, get job opportunities) to the implicit (deepened friendships and new contacts) that it is just an excellent opportunity.
The only question if you are a first-year is whether to go this year, next year (when it will be in the US and much cheaper), or both. Obviously, money is tough to come by for grad students. But this is absolutely worth the investment at least once (not to mention the School covers a part of it).
Incidentally, it also helps the School. People are discovering that IU has a large presence at CHI, and that adds to all of our credibility and value.
Speaking of CHI presence, Informatics might consider some sort of marker for our CHI badges. CMU had those perhaps too big and colorful flags attached to their badges and I think they helped people at the conference think “man, there’s a lot of CMU people here, they must take this conference seriously.”
I think we should all wear IU tiaras.
Guys I really appreciate all of the feedback, thanks! Keep it coming!!!
I’m going to link to this topic from the board for Marty’s HCI 1 class so the majority of the first years have access to it.
Two random thoughts related to this CHI.
1) If you’re a US citizen, you need a passport. The processing times on the Dept of State websites are bold face lies. Expedited service took almost 2 months for me earlier this year and not “3 weeks.”
2) The Center for Disease Control recommends Hepatitis B vaccination for travel to Italy.
Hepatitis B vaccination is administered in 3 doses and takes 4-6 months to complete.
Also, there’s a CHI 2008 group on Facebook.
Whoaaa! Thats an interesting read!
I will try and make it there in all probability!
Started saving already! 🙂