My name is Ana Frichand and I am full professor at the “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University in Skopje, North Macedonia. I am currently Chair of the Institute of Psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy, at this University. As part of the COORDINATE Transnational Access Visits (TAV) program I had the unique opportunity to visit UCD and Geary Institute of Public Policy for two weeks. My application for the 3rd TAV call was successful this year in May, so I completed my stay from 16th until 30th September, 2023. The motivation to apply and visit UCD was the high quality research it provides, having an impressive longitudinal database such is “Growing Up in Ireland” (GUI), with large cohort samples and variable sets that provide researchers with various opportunities for analyzes. Such extensive studies are rare and difficult to find around the globe, which makes GUI particularly valuable.
The focus of my research project was on development of adolescents and emerging adults before and during COVID-19 pandemic, i.e. their emotional/mental health and identity. The challenges young people face and experiences they obtain during these developmental periods, can strongly influence the trajectory of their future development and choices they make regarding their career, relationships quality and their mental health. Thus, it is very relevant how emotionally mature and resilient young people are, the type of attachment they have with their family members, whether they are experiencing bullying, or are involved in antisocial/aggressive behavior etc. Covid-19 pandemic is also one risk factor that affected almost all people, but had different effects on individuals’ mental health and overall development. Due to mentioned factors, some individuals got out of it with almost completely intact mental health, while some ended up with anxiety, depression, panic attacks and so on. Having in mind all this, during the first week of my stay I applied for approval from ISSDA to gain access to the Waves 3 and 4 of GUI Cohort ’98 and to the GUI COVID-19 Web Survey. During the two weeks, I reviewed relevant literature for this particular topic, as well as the literature that advanced my statistical knowledge on longitudinal datasets and designs. I also consulted with my supervisor, Prof. Orla Doyle, who was very helpful in providing comments and thoughts on the research idea.
On September 26th, 2023 I had the opportunity to give a seminar on “The role of psychology in providing sustainable development for future generations” at the Geary Institute for Public Policy. It was a wonderful experience that I will cherish for a long time. Another very important outcome of my stay was building professional network for further collaboration cross-culturally and interdisciplinary. Thus, I advanced not only my knowledge and experience, but opened opportunities for new joint research and publications, as well as teacher and student mobility in future.
Last but not least, Dublin is one of the most amazing cities in the world! In my free time, I explored the town, visited many cultural-historical places and museum, such are St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, the National Wax Museum, Museum of Literature Ireland and many more. I enjoyed delicious food at several pubs which are landmarks of Dublin. If I have to describe my two weeks stay at UCD and Dublin in just a few words, it would be something like this: amazing and highly recommended!