Best Student Life University

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d-wave
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Best Student Life University

Postby d-wave » Fri Dec 30, 2011 5:07 pm

I know this is not properly related to the main topics of this forum, but if you have to consider Student Life quality too (entertainment, people around, sightseeing and so on) for your application, which will be your pick?

bfollinprm
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Re: Best Student Life University

Postby bfollinprm » Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:50 pm

Don't forget cost of living. And University of Pittsburgh.

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Andromeda
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Re: Best Student Life University

Postby Andromeda » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:08 am

I honestly never bothered applying to universities in places I couldn't imagine enjoying my life and I'm not certain why others would. You could have the best research in the world but if I wouldn't be happy I wouldn't bother, as there's more to life than that.

That said I ended up applying to universities in Europe and now live in Amsterdam, and love it. Can't imagine beating here in terms of quality of life, except maybe it's darker in the winter than I'd prefer. :D

TakeruK
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Re: Best Student Life University

Postby TakeruK » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:44 pm

Location was definitely a factor in picking my applications. I made a list of interesting research from talking to my profs and online research then crossed out all the places I don't want to live. All of the central US states got removed. I also limited my east coast choices to the really good schools in my field. I'm from Western Canada so the east coast temperature extremes are too much for me (currently in Eastern Canada).

I am hoping for a west coast school. The Northwest would be nice because it's close to home but California is also nice. My wife and I are also looking for a city bigger than our current location, ideally something that is NOT a university town, and a multicultural place. Only 2 of 8 schools I applied to do not meet all of these conditions.

I'm also looking for a program where I can get use out of my Canadian MSc and finish a PhD within 4 years (don't want to start a family while in grad school but also don't want to wait until I'm 30!). Of course this is all assuming I will have enough offers so that I can actually make a choice based on these preferences :P I guess I am pretty picky but a PhD is a significant investment and I'm only going to devote the time if everything works out. Otherwise, there are plenty of other interesting careers I can have with my MSc in Canada.

Edit: I did think about Europe but it will be harder for my wife to find work in countries where she doesn't speak the language. Also, it is really far away from both of our families. And, funding for non EU citizens is very sparse over there!

asdfuogh
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Re: Best Student Life University

Postby asdfuogh » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:46 pm

I know exactly what you mean about the starting a family thing. I think I'm too old for my age, or I'm just more old-fashioned than I should be. It would be nice to be able to start a family BEFORE 30 (honestly, I always thought I'd be ready to start a family at age 25... still kind of think that). In any case, that's why most of my picks are in the West, and I avoided the hell out of the middle of the U.S. (no offense to you guys living there).

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Andromeda
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Re: Best Student Life University

Postby Andromeda » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:31 am

TakeruK wrote:Edit: I did think about Europe but it will be harder for my wife to find work in countries where she doesn't speak the language. Also, it is really far away from both of our families. And, funding for non EU citizens is very sparse over there!


I learned a lot about this topic while applying and the very sparse thing actually varies a lot country to country. Definitely holds for the UK where you have to be a UK citizen for most things, but in most other countries the money comes from the European Research Council and they don't care what country you're from.

I ended up applying to UK, Germany, and the Netherlands because these are countries where the programs are in English, and I'm actually astounded at how little an issue the language is in my daily life (I didn't speak Dutch at all, and while I'm learning it's been a struggle to find Dutch people to practice with as they all switch to their perfect English!). But this is largely a quirk of the Netherlands I think, had I gone to Germany or France it would've definitely been a language barrier.

TakeruK
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Re: Best Student Life University

Postby TakeruK » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:18 pm

For the family thing -- when I was younger, I arbitrarily decided 25 to be the age to get married and then start a family soon after. Now that age 25 is only months away, it is clear to me now that it would be better for everyone involved if we waited a few more years. I didn't really think about grad school before though, so 25 seemed like a good age since I'd be well out of University by then (ha!). Nevertheless, I've met many grad students with their own families, and right after PhD, or during the last year seems to be as ideal as you can get! Another issue is that I know exactly where I want to live by the time our kids go to primary school and "settling down" there is more important to us than anything else. This really limits the places I can apply to for post-docs and tenure-track positions, but I don't have to have one of those for me to be happy with my career.

I was originally looking at the UK, where the funding is super tight. But it would be great because other Commonwealth citizens (e.g. Canadians) can work in the UK without a visa and my wife would speak the language etc. While neither of us have any issues with living in non-English countries (in fact, what better way to learn a new language and culture?), it would be much harder for someone to find work when they are novices at a language. I think using language in daily life is one thing, but for work that require effective communication, e.g. receptionist etc. you'd be at a great disadvantage.

Until I learned about the J-1 visa status in the US, it seemed like a PhD program in the US (or anywhere outside of Canada) would be a major issue. Although it is still not quite clear what sources of funding is needed to secure J-1 status. Some places say you need a government award (e.g. NSERC from Canada, or a Fulbright award), but other say that as long as you are not paying for school out of your own funds (i.e. your university is paying you) then it's okay. So, I've ticked off the "J-1" box in every application that asks what visa I'd like to apply for and let's hope for the best! The only caveat with J-1 is that I'd have to go back to Canada for 2 years before I can return to the US (unless I get a waiver), but that is no issue at all because when we start having kids, I'd like to be back home (doing post-docs ideally) anyways.

blighter
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Postby blighter » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:26 pm

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Last edited by blighter on Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

negru
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:49 pm

Highly relevant to topic.PM might be working but i dont real

Postby negru » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:41 pm

The only thing i'm wondering is why would you make a tldr if it's longer than the original text, and it has nothing to do with being a summary either? There's just absolutely no reason to name it a tldr. A more appropiate choice would've been naming the first paragraph "non essential though possibly helpful background info".

CarlBrannen
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Re: Best Student Life University

Postby CarlBrannen » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:11 am

Hey, my rent for a 2 bed room apartment in Pullman, WA (At Washington State University) is $465 per month. Locally, this is considered extravagant rent for a grad student in physics.

And we had a fairly high attrition this year so I suspect there will be a lot of offerings to the applicants this year.

The schools has the cleanest rural air I've ever breathed and I'm having a blast.




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