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Is an extra year of undergraduate doing research abroad worth it?

  1. Jan 17, 2012 #1
    Is an entire year of research abroad worth it if it requires me to do an extra year of my undergraduate degree?

    I am currently in my third year of Engineering Physics at the University of Toronto. Right now my goal is to go to graduate school (somewhere) in some field of physics, not quite sure yet exactly what field.

    Anyways, I have one year of research experience in computer architecture through an NSERC USRA that I got last summer (2011). I am planning on gaining another research experience this summer in physics and hopefully somewhere (or with someone) which is highly regarded.

    I have the option right now to take an extra year between my third and fourth year to go to the University of Hamburg in Germany and do research in Physical Chemistry (tied to Max Planck Institute and DESY) I would also attend class, although none of it would count towards my degree. I would love to do this, however, I don't know if it is worth it to spend an entire extra year to do my undergraduate degree. My degree is currently 4 years long and this would push it to 5 years. In case people ask, I can't possibly spend my fourth year abroad due to accreditation problems with my degree (being it in engineering). This also has to do with why none of the courses I take abroad would count towards my degree.

    The other option is that I just try and do research here at U of T this summer through an NSERC USRA, or find another summer long research opportunity, and then continue fourth year after the summer. (I applied to an internship at CERN for the summer but didn't get it unfortunately)

    I feel the research experience and international experience would be invaluable when applying to grad school, but is it really worth it for me to delay graduation by a year? The way I think of is that one more year doing my undergrad is one less year I will be getting paid in the future. Thoughts anyone?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 18, 2012 #2
    Considering you said you would love to do it, I would say very confidently it is worth it.
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