Study abroad aside, my firsthand experience of academia is largely US-centric. Likewise, much of what I’ve read (books, PhD guides, blogs, association websites, etc.) or heard (friends, colleagues, mentors) is related to the experience of working/studying at an American institution.
I’m considering pursuing a PhD/Academic Career outside of the United States. I currently live in the EU. Based on some preliminary research I have narrowed down my preferences to, in no particular order: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. [Still considering other European countries as well as Canada]
I’m interested in finding out as much as I can about the PhD, research, and academic career prospects (especially for foreigners) in these countries. My aim is to move permanently. Ideally, I would like to assimilate as much as possible and avoid having to relocate to another country post-graduation. However, as moving might be unavoidable, prospects on the international job market are also an important factor to consider.
I would really appreciate some first or secondhand experience. What’s it like to be a graduate student and/or work at a university in one of these countries? For those able to make a comparison: how would you relate it to PhD/working in the US (particularly at R1 schools)? Are there any major downsides or advantages to consider when choosing Europe/Canada over the US?
Finally, what are the prospects for graduates on the national academic job market? Regarding the international academic job market, what are the common destinations for recent graduates from your country?
I especially look forward to hearing from those of you in the social sciences (or humanities) currently studying/working in one of the above-mentioned countries. My own field is Cult/Soc Anthropology. However, please consider contributing even if you do not fit this particular set of criteria.
Lastly, should anyone know any blogs, articles, forum threads (etc.), dealing with academia at large, pursuing a PhD, or working at a university in any of these countries, particularly from a foreigner’s perspective, please share. I’ve located some sources, but I’m sure there must be much more out there.
[side note] I purposely left out my personal reasons for wanting to study/work outside of the US. Please, let’s keep this discussion focused on academia, rather than debating whether country X or Y is a great/terrible place to live.
[in response to juod’s comment: extract some key points that are of particular interest to you]
Sure, here they are, 1 = most important.
1) Attitude towards foreigners
- Are foreign PhDs given the same consideration for postdocs and entry lvl posts (incl. tenure track or equivalent) – or is there a clear bias towards the locals?
- What is the attitude towards non-native hires? I aim to assimilate and become proficient in the local language, but English will continue to be my primary working language.
2) National job market
What’s the current hiring climate? How competitive is it compared to US & other countries I listed? Discipline Specific: Are there many opportunities (many respected institutions, large staff) in anthropology/social sciences?
3) International job market
While I prefer NOT to relocate afterwards, what are my chances of competing for a job elsewhere in the world (Europe, US, Canada, Japan) after PhD/Postdoc in country X?
4) Perceived difference between graduate studies in US vs Europe
This is more vague, but if there are any key differences I should be aware of (and might not be) it would be great to find out what they are. I am trying to work out all major blind spots.
For all questions, please assume the PhD is from one of top institutions in a given country.
@juod, @MassimoOrtolano, @JeffE – thank you for your feedback, I have resubmitted the question as: Academic Job Mobility in the European Context