Chinese Advisor

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

Ivan Fyodorovich
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:44 pm

Chinese Advisor

Postby Ivan Fyodorovich » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:50 pm

I'm trying to finalize my decision for where to attend but there's one slight thing nagging me. One of the potential advisors I'd like to work with at one of my choices is Chinese, and it seems like he tends to have Chinese students and postdocs. Now, it is a small theory group and the professor didn't have any real difficulties with English from what I could tell, but I could easily see there being difficulties interacting with his other students or postdocs, especially in a case where they attended undergrad in China. Has anyone been in a situation like this or known someone in one and have any thoughts on the possible difficulties that may arrive?

User avatar
midwestphysics
Posts: 444
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:37 am

Re: Chinese Advisor

Postby midwestphysics » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:35 pm

Ivan Fyodorovich wrote:I'm trying to finalize my decision for where to attend but there's one slight thing nagging me. One of the potential advisors I'd like to work with at one of my choices is Chinese, and it seems like he tends to have Chinese students and postdocs. Now, it is a small theory group and the professor didn't have any real difficulties with English from what I could tell, but I could easily see there being difficulties interacting with his other students or postdocs, especially in a case where they attended undergrad in China. Has anyone been in a situation like this or known someone in one and have any thoughts on the possible difficulties that may arrive?


I am in this exact situation right now. I am the only native English speaker in my group and while there are some that have no issues conversing in English there are others that talking with them is trying to say the least. However, I wouldn't let that stand in my way, the research is too interesting to me. You will find that where communication really matters, assuming all parties are really invested in the research, it's not as hard as it seems. Things improve and you start to find that not only does their communication get better you strain less and less as you get familiar with their speaking style. You pick up their mannerisms and they are forced to use English regularly which improves it. Emails tend to be no issue too, so don't hesitate to use that in the beginning to make sure on very important things you don't get lost in translation, plus it helps having them to look back at. Overall though, I would actually recommend people get involved in an very internationally diverse group if possible, this is reflective of the way things are in the world. It's better to now get a feel for how to handle situations like this than when you graduate. Physics has no boarders, as a result we have to become comfortable with people from all over the world, at least if you want to be apart of the community, contribute to it, and take advantage of its contributions to your goals.

eclaire1
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:14 am

Re: Chinese Advisor

Postby eclaire1 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:47 pm

I thought I clicked submit on my message, but I don't see it, so sorry if there's a double message. I don't do theory, so I don't know if what I say applies. The only possible worries I would see is if the advisor is always speaking in Chinese to his advisees and you feel left out or something like that. i've been in situations where the advisor seems to have a policy of only speaking English in the lab when others are present, and where the advisor speaks English to some and some other language to others. But, that was experiment though. At the end of the day though, what matters is what you produce or do, not what your classmates do. They even may be particularly nice or helpful to you because they want to learn English. Does your advisors's advisees (whatever nationality they are) get jobs in places where you want to work? If so, then it seems like a good deal......




Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests