CIES 2019: IEDP Field Trip

We are aware that the CIES updates are long overdue but as the saying goes — better late than never! CIES is an acronym of Comparative and International Education Society. The Society hosts annual conferences, and every year, IEDP cohorts participate in the conference in various ways. In this series, we will provide different perspectives of and experiences at CIES 2019. Today we have  Alejandra who offered her insight as a workshop and conference attendee! 

Hopped off the plane at SFO

My academic motivation, in animal form

With an itinerary and some hunger pains,

Welcome to the land of sea lions and food,

Whoa, how much can I fit in?

I have been planning on going to CIES since before fall semester. I was so excited! I’ve never been to a big conference nor San Fran so this was all new to me. I knew the moment I landed I would want Mexican food so I went straight to Mission District, suitcase and tote bags and all, and waited an hour for the best burrito of my life. (I still dream about that burrito…stress is weird)

Found Morgan and Shristi!

I arrived Saturday, well before most people, because I signed up for a pre-conference workshop on Sunday: Exploring book development for children 0–4 Years old with indigenous people’s groups and applications of a book quality criteria tool in different contexts, facilitated by Save the Children Philippines. We discussed representation in children’s literacy, global early grade literacy trends, and the difficulties of finding appropriate books in mother tongue languages. The facilitators went through their process for creating and producing books locally and how they prioritize local community input. We also went through a tutorial on how to use their Book Quality Criteria Tool. (Its pretty nifty, check it out)IMG_5069

The state of representation in Children’s books

The workshop was all day, so I was tired by the time 4 pm rolled around and the rest of the gang showed up. Those of us who weren’t staying with family were sharing rooms in hostels or hotels around the conference area; Marissa and I ended up using points (….and another family member’s name…shhh) for a hotel a few blocks away.

The conference was a mix of slow and fast. Planning for it felt like planning for a music festival- everything I wanted to attend was at the same time at opposite ends of the hotel!



Everyone had their own expectations going to this, but for me it was less about networking and more about figuring out how my ‘academic life’ looks in ‘real life’. During sessions, I realized that I was drawn to the same types of questions or discussion themes over and over again, showing my natural inclination to certain types of work. This year, the conference had Spanish language panels and they were very insightful and with a smaller, niche crowd. It seemed like most people knew each other so instead of me introducing myself, many people came up to meet me instead! I found mi gente and they helped me pick out sessions, offered advice for my internship, or offered introductions to organizations. (only photos I have are slides…oops?)

As a GA, we also had to help give information at the Penn table in a lobby area. Ultimately, the Penn table turned into the IEDP hub where everyone ate lunch or met up. A ‘typical’ day went something like this:

7:30am- wake up, get ready, get breakfast with Marissa

8:30-10:00- work the Penn table, mooch off free tea, sneak in a few work emails


10:00-11:30- Bounce between 2 or 3 sessions

11:30-1:30- LUNCH! I tried to work a couple of hours at the Penn table during this break so I would get to-go and eat with everyone.

1:30-3:00- Sessions or Round tables

3:30-4:45- Bounce between Sessions and Poster Sessions (lots of IEDP participation in Poster Sessions)

5:00- meet up with IEDPrs for San Fran adventures!


  • Monday- Keynote Speaker
  • Tuesday- Filipino Food (guided by Ian + Marissa)
  • Wednesday- Fisherman’s Warf (Mirror Mazes *pic* + Sea Lions)
  • Thursday- Mission District (Burritos + Murals)

My CIES Tips:

  • Have Snacks in your bag, you will get hungry at the most inconvenient times
  • Make room for naps! Especially with a time change
  • Don’t give up coffee the month of CIES, #mistakes
  • Comfortable shoes. Always.
  • Keep your business cards in your name tag pouch
  • Apply to present! You might get chosen.
    • If later you decide your life is insane and you don’t have time to prepare, that’s fine too!
  • Make time for your friends!
    • Plan dinners and get togethers after sessions
    • Meet for off site coffee or tea breaks
    • Post-lunch walks and photo shoots
    • Skip a morning of sessions and see the sites:
Roomie and I rented a car a zoomed around San Fran for the day





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