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Help! North America vs Europe


abcd_grad
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Hi everyone,

I have this dilemma and I would really appreciate your thoughts on the following. So far, I've been admitted to a Canadian university (X) as well as a British one (Y). I still need to hear from another two so I'm not yet making the final decision. However, I noticed that during the waiting period, my preferences have been shifting continuously (I'd have attended any of them, that's why I applied in the first place) but when I heard from X (which originally was my second/third choice), I really liked the idea of going there and after reading more about it, it became my first choice. I just heard from Y, and although it was definitely not my first choice in the beginning, I'm really thinking it might really be a good option for me.

Now I'm really confused :? ... What do you think? Here's a brief description of my problem :

X

- 3 connecting flights (>20 hrs and very expensive)

- 2 yrs thesis based MSc (so it

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Since you want to continue on to a PhD program after your Masters, what's most important is the kind of advantages you'll gain from attending each school. It sounds like school X will allow you to gain more research experience than school Y, and it'll give you the opportunity to obtain strong letters of recommendation from influential people in your field. You'll also get better funding, which is very important. Another factor to consider is the success rate of recent graduates of both schools - how many of them have gone on to do their PhDs at reputable universities you'd like to attend? Assuming that school X does well in this category, it gets my vote. It seems to be the all around better offer.

Concerning the long and expensive flight, it's certainly not as convenient as living 3 hours away from home, but since you're not likely to be traveling back and forth to visit all that often, I don't think it should be a consideration. Don't forget that 1-2 flights back home a year will definitely be less expensive than funding yourself for a year in the UK, even if the flights from there are less expensive.

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Thanks fuzzylogician, you made some very good points.

Both schools have good success rates, so this wouldn't be a decising factor for me.

With regards to the distance from home, if I attend school Y, I probably won't visit home more than once. If I attend school X, I probably won't be visiting home in those 2 years as I don't think I'd be able to afford it. This wouldn't be a problem in normal circumstances. The only thing where distance might be a problem is if something happens at home (God forbid) and it takes me forever to get there (assuming I could afford the flight). Then again, this is just hypothetical. So I guess it's not the major issue upon which I should base my decision either.

My major concern is that since the field I'm entering is relatively new for me, my research interests are not well-defined yet. Program Y would give me an overview of many areas within the general field before I make a choice (and the program is specifically targeted towards students with a background similar to mine), whilst program X might require me to restrict my choices right from the beginning. I contacted a Prof. at school X about this and I'm waiting to hear from her. So I think this might be the decisive factor for me.

That said, I have to admit that for various reasons, I'm more excited at the prospect of starting program X rather than Y.

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If I attend school X, I probably won't be visiting home in those 2 years as I don't think I'd be able to afford it. This wouldn't be a problem in normal circumstances. The only thing where distance might be a problem is if something happens at home (God forbid) and it takes me forever to get there (assuming I could afford the flight). Then again, this is just hypothetical. So I guess it's not the major issue upon which I should base my decision either.

That said, I have to admit that for various reasons, I'm more excited at the prospect of starting program X rather than Y.

Hi european, I'm in a very similar situation. I have just enough funding to live a frugal-comfortable life in Columbus, Ohio. I'll be going right after my wedding and my wife will accompany me. Its a 5 year commitment and I don't think I'll have the money to pay for tickets for the both of us to visit our country once in a while. What I'll do is, my wife is the one who'll miss India the most and I'll try to put her on a plane back to the country whenever she misses being here. I have a mother who lives all by herself in an unsafe neighbourhood. She is divorced and in India, once that happens, you don't normally date and you tend to live a lonely life. She refuses to move elsewhere (or even come stay with me when I've found a job) as she's attached to her house (lots of reasons for the emotional tie..). I cannot however afford to base my decision on all these factors. If something bad happens or if the situation demands that I return home, I just will have to find a solution for it at that time. There is simply no way I can make arrangements for all eventualities right now! So my advice to you is the same, forget about all of that and trust yourself to be able to find a solution if such things come up and decide now based on solely what your interests and future prospects are going to be. Looks to me like you should go for X if you're sure its a PhD that is your long term goal. Good luck deciding!

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