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2 Q's: overseas worth it & how to CV for grad school

  1. Sep 17, 2011 #1
    2 Q's: overseas worth it & "how to" CV for grad school


    I'm doing my last undergraduate year this year in my country of birth (Central-Europe) and I've made up my mind about doing my graduate (in theoretical physics) abroad: desire for a more vibrant, stimulating scientific environment & an (academic) adventure. Now I have two questions, the first about location, the second about the Curriculum Vitae.

    (1) I'm going to apply to two universities in Germany (the germans seem to have a good scientific attitude) and one in The Netherlands (I've heard good things about Utrecht). The thing is, I seem to be a bit hesitant with applying to overseas universities, and I'm wondering if my reasons are just: first there's the fact that my parents prefer I don't go unnecessarily far at this stage (okay, I suppose there's little to nothing you can comment on this reason, but just stating it to give the full picture; this reason is also not really against the UK, but mainly the US), the second reason has to do with cost, those overseas universities (the good ones, anyway) seem to be freakishly expensive: my parents are willing to pay for it if I am convinced, but I don't know myself if that price is worth it, if Cambridge or Princeton (to just blurt out two names) really beats a good German university. The third reason is admission: I have the notion that American universities are really hard to get in for European students wanting to do their graduate studies there (having heard that once) but I realize I might very well be wrong on this, hence me checking it now. Of course they're not "easy" to get into, but I mean in comparison to a good university in, say, Germany. (if you think about the money they charge, that would be a good reason to suspect it shouldn't be so hard, actually)

    That being said, there is another university I'm definitely applying to and that is overseas: PSI, which I really am totally convinced about as it seems to perfectly suit what I'm looking for, and it is incidentally also very hard to get accepted into (hence the applying to more than one place).

    (2) When they ask for a CV, what do I put in it at this stage? I saw a topic closely related on this recently, but it didn't have a concrete answer to my specific question. And this also allows me to ask subquestions: do I include hobbies? (it seems irrelevant to my studies, but I know that in some countries extracurricular activies are regarded as important so who knows, I'm asking) Do I mention being in the national finale of the physics olympiad? My ranking wasn't that special (especially in relation to people that got through to the international round), and I think I'd rather neglect mentioning it (I'm no good at contests, nor do I like the concept of a contest), but just wanted to check cause there is the argument that mentioning it demonstrates interest in the subject. Do I also list all the courses I've taken? Or do I only (if at all) mention special courses, like a graduate course?

    Also, one of the places specifically asks for "your Curriculum Vitae, which will provide all of your Academic Background and Professional Background information"; so does this mean that even if a CV normally entails more details (depends on the answer on my earlier question), in this case they only want academic stuff, correct?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2011 #2
    Re: 2 Q's: overseas worth it & "how to" CV for grad school

    (1) A small trend at my university (in Germany) is, students get their master degrees then go to USA for a funded PhD, and those with PhD are going for post doc positions.
    Also if you are a citizen of an EU state member, there should many opportunities for scholarships and stipends within Germany.
    I don't think its really worth it going to an expensive university if you have good and affordable alternatives (also closer to home).

    (2) I find the euro cv style neat, which should suffice for all purposes. You can include your extracurricular activities but give it its own subsection, not put together with hobbies.
    Any information that can be positive regarding your application, it won't do harm if you included it e.g. graduate courses.

    As an undergrad, you should have only one CV, which details any working experience and any academic experiences (e.g. bachelor thesis).

    As a sample euroCV, see:

    http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/europass/home/vernav/Europass+Documents/Europass+CV.csp [Broken]


    You don't have to follow it strictly and there is space for customization, e.g. as you're applying for university admission, you can put academic info ahead of the employment section.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Sep 18, 2011 #3
    Re: 2 Q's: overseas worth it & "how to" CV for grad school

    I hope this doesn't seem like I'm hijacking the thread, I just wanted to add a question which follows straight from the OP's first (and is probably of interest to you):

    Is it common for EU students to get into a funded masters+phd program in the US/Canada (or Japan, if anyone knows) ? Or is the regular course of action getting a masters in one's home country first, then emigrating for a phd + chain of post-docs like how physiker describes?

    OP: Definitely keep us updated on what you end up doing, there aren't a great deal of threads with info/advice for EU students wanting to do post-grad+phd's abroad(and by this I mean both other EU countries and everywhere else).
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2011
  5. Sep 18, 2011 #4
    Re: 2 Q's: overseas worth it & "how to" CV for grad school

    PhDs in science and engineering at US and UK universities have no tuition fees (usually - in the UK some projects are funded for EU students only). US usually pay you about $26,000 per year, uk £14,000. US takes 5 years as first two years are coursework, UK 3 years as is pure research.

    So, both are affordable if they accept you. You won't be living like a rich man, but you'll survive.
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