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Beware! Before you read the post, I want you to know that I am also using this post to say to anyone from the Western Balkan countries interested in working with me (masters/PhD research work) that there are scholarships available through the Sigma project to travel to City University London. Read on for more…

See the world!  cartoon about exchange students

And make it count for your career too!

One of the great perks of academic life includes travel to many parts of the world, and meeting people from everywhere. Conferences are a fantastic way to do this. If you’ve read my post (Nice conferencing with you), you’d know I like travel, people, food and shopping!

But conferences are bite-sized experiences that often end far too soon… not giving us enough time in one exciting place. However, luckily for us conferences aren’t the only official reason to travel.

Besides, you might ask, what does travel have to do with building a career?

That is the sweet bit!

It is possible to spend time at universities/research centres in other countries through many exchange programme/mobility schemes. The schemes are many and varied. Some are for durations of a couple of weeks to a few months, while longer schemes can allow staying at a host institution for 6-24 months. There are schemes for everyone: undergrad/postgrad/PhD students, post-docs, and even staff. It is possible to attend another university and attend their courses, or do part/whole of your dissertation there, work on a research project, learn specific skills…

These schemes present a great opportunity to

  • experience a scholastic system different from your own
  • study highly rated courses and/or those not available in the home institution
  • to work with some world leading groups
  • learn new skills/techniques that are not available in your home lab
  • try out your language skills
  • experience a new country, culture and people
  • get a more global perspective on your field
  • put something on your CV that not everyone has
  • develop a network that is global
  • more things that I can think of and list!

So what are these schemes?

One example for schemes that allow travel related to European partners is the Erasmus schemes– the Sigma scheme linking staff and students in 6 EU countries with partners in the western Balkans. More information on Erasmus schemes in general (linking EU) can be found at http://www.mastersportal.eu/students/articles/erasmus-mundus/, http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus_mundus/index_en.php and http://www.em-a.eu/.

Some famous schemes include: the Fulbright that connects the US to other countries, the DAAD programme that connect Germany, the JSPS programme that connects Japan. There are many, many others and I only mention very few.

A great best place to find out is the student office/international office in your university which would list the schemes that the university is part of. A compilation of funding sources not restricted to travel/mobility is the famous Grants register.

So if you find something that allows you to come to the UK, come and work with me!

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