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Torn: US or Germany


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I have to make a decision soon regarding which program to attend and I am torn with my options!

Maybe you can help?

Here is the situation:

I have always wanted to go to grad school in the US because of the structure of programs, course offerings, TA experience, everything. I applied for two rounds and was accepted without funding because they had budget cuts, etc. Finally, I have been accepted with funding (15K per year in an expensive state, so I will be very very poor) for 4 years to school X. The courses are the best, I love them all. My advisor is awesome. He/she is at the top of her field, has many connections, many projects. But, I have heard from other professors that the advisor at X is quite detached, very busy, and I probably would be on my own. Advisor can write superb recommendation letters and get me more funds for my research, but he/she may not have time to mentor me, read thoroughly my applications, papers, etc. I will be done in 6 years... with luck? There is the thing that I have plenty of friends and family in this city, so it won't be such a shock to move out of my country and be at a new place. And advisor could really help me to land a job in something I like because of advisor's connections.

Then, I applied to scholarship from DAAD to go to Germany to school Y and got it. School Y is on the top 10 in Europe and in associated with an institute which is renowned in my field. Advisor at Y is amazing. Not as famous and with that many projects, but I think that is his zen way of living, since he is very prolific and excellent at what he does. He/she has been like a mentor since the beginning of my career, I have a close and great relationship with him/her and I am more than sure he/she will have all the time to advice me, read my things, give suggestions, etc, etc. Also, the funding package is very good, I will not have to worry for money at all and I don't have to TA. Since I actually am not required to take courses, the course offering is very general, nothing exciting. I just have to focus on my reseach, which will be an improved version of what I am doing now (instead of a reloaded version in the US, where I will learn stuff I don't know and include it in my research). I will be done in 3 years. I don't know anybody here, but the advisor, and I don't speak any german (the PhD is in english). DAAD offers to teach me 6 months of german, but I may feel alienated and alone since I won't be able to comunicate properly.

I have the feeling that Germany is the safe choice, if I go there, my worst regret could be to not have a strong foundation and lack the knowledge I want in some topics I am not good at. Not a tragedy, but a personal thing that could be solved with some discipline on my part (to selflearn).

I feel the US as the complicated choice. Everything could work out and I would feel fulfilled and happy with my research and studies. But it may be too much the first years, being very poor, teaching and taking courses. Also, I am worried about the situation in the US. Many colleague have mentioned the shortage of funds for science is increasing and since I will be an international students, fellowships and etc. for me would be very limited. What if in 4 years, I can't find more money to finish my PhD which is stimated to last 6 years? What if my advisor really does not have time for me? But I have always wanted this.

Any comments are greatly appreciated!

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