A new twist to your PhD: Going abroad

Whether you are planning on doing a PhD or you have already done it, adding up an international experience not only will broaden your horizons in research making but also will provide you with a distinctive mark that will join your doctoral profile through your career. Experiences while abroad, through study or work, are known to be invigorating. Not only for your future employer but most importantly for you, and, in the PhD field, the importance increases.

It is known that the majority of the leading research institutes and universities around the world include in their application requirements (for a permanent position as a researcher) a previous experience abroad. There are many approaches to do so and all of them lead to a great professional outcome.

When doing a PhD abroad the criteria to follow is very basic: Being passionate about the research group and/or university you will be spending time in & having a good founding that will make that passion a reality. Top research groups and/or universities are not only more likely to be selected to disseminate their PhD works but even asked to do it. The importance of publishing in scientific editorials like Nature is vital in many countries as a “requisite” to a leading position in the research field. And not only that, by doing your research abroad you will be exposed to new research environments and methods as well as academics whom will provide you with different perspectives.

A way to do a PhD abroad but not completely letting go of your home country are the joint PhD Programs. It means doing your PhD with two different universities. Usually one will be your home university and the other one a university that wants to strengthen relations with yours or vice versa.

When coming back to your country of origin, the recognition of your diploma is key, that´s why organisations like the European Network of Information Centres (ENIC) / National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARIC) provide equivalence information for most countries around the world.

Also, network is key: Once you are back in your country, meeting local researchers on your field is of high importance to keep the ball rolling, a way to do so is by attending to conferences that go along with your area of studies and making yourself visible by the community you want to be a part of. It is of high interest to be able to talk about oneself and the work you've done that can be found online, as well as publishing in scientific networks (such as MyScienceWork!!). By doing so you can be lead to a wider employability rate, navigating in both the public and the private sectors.

As well as network, there are grants that help doctors to come back to their home countries, as an example of this we note the Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship, helping post-docs to come back to Europe after staying in the US.

To illustrate this article, you can have a look to an interview we did to Lisa Rivalin, a french Ph.D. in Applied Statistics and Building Energy that decided to do her PhD in the US. You can also check out the interview that we´ve done to Nicolas Bachelard, a post-doc with a PhD in Physics, in which you can read about his experience abroad and his advices of why doing so, focusing on the importance of how valuable it is for institutions like the CNRS to have had an abroad experience.

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