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ABG tower, this is PhD, taxi clearance and take-off instructions, over! [PART 1]

O. Benfaida



You’re a doctoral candidate and you’re thinking about going abroad? Roger that. But have you anticipated the different steps of your mobility? No? Then here are some practical advices to guide you like air traffic control with airplanes.

This first part focuses on how to design and prepare your mobility project. In other words, a detailed checklist to get yourself ready ... so fasten your belts!
In this phase, pilot and co-pilot are going through the check-list before take-off. They calculate how much fuel they need for the flight, check that flight instruments and mechanics are in order, ask for the weather report to know the flight conditions… They make sure that the flight plan has been transmitted to the air traffic control.

As the pilot of your mobility project, it’s up to you to prepare your flight plan and your check-list before departure

How is this mobility project part of your career plan?

Some employers, whether academic or industrial, expect candidates to have an international experience (for example Bayer, ONERA…).

For some others, such experience is not mandatory and in this case, you must be able to explain why this choice of going abroad was coherent with your career plan. Keep in mind that this international step must help you get your next job:
  • developing a skill or mastering a technique mandatory for this job ;
  • high-level publications ;
  • first collaboration with industry to facilitate the transition to this sector.
What are your motivations? What do you expect from this experience?
Motivations are all the internal and external elements that help you to act and to keep going in the long haul, especially when your battery is low – and a stay abroad is not as easy as it may seem!

Identify them and know what helps you to move forward when you’re lacking motivation:
  • do you need new challenging objectives?
  • discussions with peers ;
  •  exchanges with relatives or friends…?
Don’t forget this question :

"what do you want to experiment?"

It will have an impact on the preparation of your project. Do you have only professional expectations (for example joining an excellent laboratory, working with a famous scientist…) or do you have also more personal expectations, like discovering a new culture? In this case, try to get as much contact with natives as possible instead of remaining only with foreigners like you!

What are your constraints? What can be your mobility barriers?

Beyond administrative stuff (for example getting a work permit), think about your personal constraints, especially when you have a partner, with or without children.
Going to the other side of the world and leaving your partner and children behind is certainly not the best idea ever!

If your partner is not going to follow you, it may be a good idea to select a country for which a round-trip can be easily organized. On the contrary, if you go abroad with your partner, both of you should make compromises: which ones? Don’t forget that more and more employers are offering dual career services, such as L’Oréal  and the University of Nuremberg).

Can the barriers you identified for your mobility be counterbalanced?

Take this example: you’re not speaking the language of your target country. Most of the time, you can use English at the start. Then learn the language on the spot, because many employers are offering language courses for their foreign employees.


So that is all for this week ... Time to put it into practice! Feel free to reach out to us on twitter @Intelliagence and see you next week for the 2nd part of the trip!

>>Read more...Find the articles of the summer vacation series, from previous years :
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