Tips For Students Seeking Life Science PhD Degree Abroad
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Tips For Students Seeking Life Science PhD Degree Abroad

The road for a smooth sailing Ph.D. degree in any country abroad starts with these 10 simple tips…”

Congratulations! You have just unlocked a new milestone in your career. Studying abroad is probably every student’s dream. You must know how lucky you are forgetting the chance to go cross-country, meet new colleagues, and make new discoveries.

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I assume you’re very excited to pack your things and settle in a new place. But wait… Getting a Ph.D. abroad has become increasingly competitive for international students, considering the stricter VISA regulations, application procedures, and higher university standards.

As you see, studying abroad is not just about cultural immersion and unique adventures. Consider this – you will be away from your comfort zone and you might face unexpected obstacles along your journey. Are you really ready for that?

Before embarking on a new journey, I have compiled the 10 most important tips for success when getting a Ph.D. abroad i.e out of India . There are more than 100,000 students from BioTecNika who have to succeed in their Ph.D. journey abroad using these tips and I want to share them with you because I want you to succeed too.

Tip 1: Inform your supervisor regarding your arrival

When getting a Ph.D. abroad, you can’t expect someone to prepare everything for you. It has been a tradition for every student to take the initiative in contacting their supervisors and panel members.

So I highly suggest to email your supervisor a week or at least three days ahead of your flight. Ask about the best time to schedule a meeting with them, including the panel members.

If you don’t receive a response within two days, don’t be afraid to follow up. If you have their contact number, give them a call or send them a message. This is also a way of allowing students to build a good relationship with their mentors and become comfortable.

Tip 2: Research about the cost of living

Remember you are going to stay in the country for a long long time hence always keep a tab of the cost of living there. For example, living in Australia, particularly in big cities like Sydney can be very expensive. It is important that you have a budget forecast so you don’t run out of money. Research on things like the cost of your apartment, food, and transportation.

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Try to know low-cost places that you can eat and budget malls if you want to buy a few things for your first month. Remember, for those who are on a scholarship it can take weeks before your allowance comes through.

For those who are enrolled in a self-funded Ph.D. program, you need to have a stringent financial discipline in order to survive a semester.

Tip 3: Book your accommodation ahead of time

Don’t go abroad if you have not booked an apartment to stay at least three weeks before your arrival. Finding an apartment in the country outside India is very difficult since most of them become fully-booked when the school year starts.

Some students fly abroad to the respective country and book a hotel for a week while they find a cheaper place. Unfortunately, a majority of unprepared students often go broke before they can actually find a cheaper place to settle.

If you’re having difficulty in finding a cheap place to stay abroad, please don’t hesitate to talk to BioTecNika. We post scholarship programs that cover board and lodging plus monthly stipends for deserving students.

Please don’t take this as an advertising pitch. I have seen a lot of students going through this struggle and I want to help every commendable student reach their dream in any way I can.

Tip 4: Take advantage of all the opportunities available to you

Getting a Ph.D. abroad is both a challenging and rewarding experience. There will be ups and downs throughout your journey. Sometimes you’ll feel like crumbling down but there are also times when you feel euphoric.  In the end, you don’t want to miss any opportunity that can lift your higher.

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Tip 5: Enhance your English proficiency

We all know that English is a universal language but not everyone knows how to speak it fluently. Some can speak English well but can’t write good enough. Others write really well but are too timid to speak.

Getting a Ph.D. abroad requires you to be a good speaker and a good writer. Besides meeting with professionals, expect to be confined with writing most of the time. If you think you’re not good enough, make sure to practice a lot. Read a lot of books or check the thesaurus to widen your vocabulary.

Try to learn the common idiomatic expressions, and refrain from making literal interpretations. Improving your English skills can definitely help you to communicate with your mentors and write your thesis.

Tip 6: Get yourself familiar with the Country Language Accent

Majority of foreign students who study abroad find the local accent really challenging. For Example, the Australian vernacular can easily leave both native speakers and foreigners perplexed. Their accent sounds like British but they are known for making words as short as possible.

Hence try to get acquainted with the language as soon as possible to have a comfortable stay.

Tip 7: Prepare for a culture shock

When you travel to other countries and stay there for a while, the cultural norms and expectations can be quite confronting.

Foreign Countries are known for their great culture and heritage. They can be profane but they can also be the friendliest. Expect life to be fast-moving as you start settling in. There will be parties after work and it’s up to you to join or prioritize your thesis.

Also, casual conversations are expected to start a lunch meeting. So when you’re meeting with your mentors, try to have a nice conversation before going into details. Unless your adviser is on the rush, the responsibility of setting a good vibe is on you.

Tips 8: Connect with support groups

Just because you’re serious in getting a Ph.D. doesn’t mean you can’t make new friends. There are many international student networks in foreign countries that you can join to help you adjust to the challenges of living in a different country.

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I personally suggest that you have a study buddy to share ideas with. You can also use your support group to get resources and materials to help you in writing your thesis.

Tips 9: Attend free seminars, workshops, and lectures

Although you will be very busy with your Ph.D. thesis, there are a variety of useful lectures in the campus that can help broaden your general knowledge. You can use this information to introduce new concepts and ideas that can help define the direction of your thesis.

Tip 10: Keep your visa current

Keeping your visa updated is probably the last thing you can think of. I’m sure you have all the excuses for not visiting the Department of Foreign Affairs in the respective country.

Well, you can tell me that you spent 24/7 studying and researching but the government bodies abroad can be very unforgiving. Expired visa can translate to expulsion from the country and loss of opportunity to apply for a nice job after graduation.

I highly recommend keeping an executive organizer so can make a schedule. Budget your time wisely in such a way that you will a spare day to check on your expiring visa.

So that is my 10 important tips for success for everyone who is planning to get a Ph.D. abroad. Above all this, I want to add the one most important thing to remember – do not isolate yourself.

Living away from your family can be very difficult. Make sure to take a break and contact your parents, siblings, or significant other. They can give you the best motivation to conquer loneliness of getting a Ph.D.

Need some more guidelines for your career? Visit our Career Advice Section.

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Shekhar Suman is the CEO & Managing Director of BioTecNika Info Labs Pvt Ltd, An avid reader who is passionate about Bio Sciences and has gifted us BioTecNika