This week, Bitesize Bio's Marisa Fernández-Cachón outlines the advantages and disadvantages of earning a PhD or doing a postdoc abroad. Having made the move herself — she earned her undergraduate degree and began her graduate training in Barcelona before moving to Germany's Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, where she is now a PhD candidate — Fernández-Cachón speaks of the transition from experience.
On the plus side, Fernández-Cachón says, training in a foreign country is a great opportunity to learn a new culture and, potentially, a new language. In addition, doing science abroad may afford a PhD or postdoc "better working [or] funding conditions than in your home country." Further, "you'll gain a lot of transferrable skills" and "will meet many new people and increase your network," she adds.
However, Fernández-Cachón says, adjusting to life in a new country can, at times, be tough. It's possible, she says, that "you will feel alone and miss your roots," particularly in the event of having to learn, and strictly use, a new language. Overall, "earning a PhD [or] doing a postdoc is usually hard, and it is even harder in another country," Fernández-Cachón says, though she adds: "Personally, I don’t regret it."