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Sacrificing research to study abroad?

  1. Mar 2, 2015 #1
    I need some advice regarding studying abroad for someone planning on going to graduate school in physics.

    I've always wanted to study abroad for a semester and I've heard nothing but great things about people's experiences. Last semester I got involved with a nuclear physics research group (mostly computational) and the P.I. has basically guaranteed me a spot throughout my undergrad as long as I remain competent. However, if I leave to study abroad for a semester then I'll likely lose my position. Is the study abroad experience worth losing the extra research experience? Does it look better to graduate schools that you've stuck with one research group the entire time?

    I'm not sure how much potential there is for me to publish through this group.

    Any input and personal experiences would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2015 #2

    Quantum Defect

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    CERN used to have an REU site for US students. There may be some other international REU sites in physics.

    If you are willing to wait, there are opportunities at the graduate level (Asia mostly) funded through the NSF.
    There are more opportunities at the post-doc level.

    There have been some threads here, as well, on US students obtaining graduate degrees in the UK.

    Study abroad is difficult to do at the undergrad level in the us if you are science or engineering. I waited until my postdoc to do an international stint. It was quite interesting, and productive for me. I was overseas for two years, lived on my own, and experienced much more than I could have in a semester abroad. Oh yeah, and the foreign government paid me an excellent salary.
  4. Mar 2, 2015 #3
    I'm in the same dilemma! I'm looking at doing a mathematics program in Budapest next year, even though I'm applying to physics grad schools. I think it depends on the type of study abroad program. If you're doing a physics-intensive (or maybe math-intensive) study abroad program, I think the study abroad is the way to go. If the study abroad program is just for fun... well, I dunno. What sort of program were you thinking about doing?

    Also, I think it's better to do several types of research, rather than stick with one group for all of undergrad (especially if you won't publish anything).
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