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fuzzylogician

How often will we get to visit home?

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For those of you who live far away from home (=need a transatlantic flight and can't just drop by to visit for the weekend), how often do you think you'll go home to visit? I'm not even worrying about paying for the visits right now, just about knowing how many times a year I can expect to see my loved ones.

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Good question- for undergrad it was easier. I went home four times during the academic year (October, December, March and next month I'll be home for two weeks before coming back to NY to graduate, travel a bit and then head back home for the summer). For grad school...... I imagine winter break and spring break will be it. Unless people visit us :D

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ps. because I doubt I'll be going home in the summers since I plan to do internships in DC (where I'm going to grad school).

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I'm being paid out of a professor's grants during my summer and he's paying "the maximum possible". So I don't think I'll get to go home (halfway across the globe). Maybe twice or if lucky thrice during the entire program and that too with permission from the adviser.. that's what I'm expecting. I don't know how it will turn out. My wife is very attached to her family and would like to visit more often, so if I'm unable to go, she'll probably go see her family every summer or so (and maybe invite family over during one of the other summers..as some of them do want to see America!)

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My MSc program is 2 yrs long so I expect to go home only once, if at all. Hopefully my sister and/or parents will come visit.

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I suppose I'll get to go home once a year. I'll probably be so busy studying and working on my research/ articles (and also trying to travel around North America as much as possible), that I don't think I'll have time to travel home more. However, my parents (as well as my academic mom) are already planning to visit us next year, so it will be OK...

Plus, my sister is getting on my nerves now, so it looks like I will enjoy being away for a while...

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What is a normal summer like after classes end in the first and second year of the program? Would one be able to go home for 3 weeks? Or is this too much time?

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I think people are usually able to get home at least once a year, during the summer and/or winter breaks. For the last 2 years, we lived across the country, so while it was not a transatlantic flight, the costs and time were just marginally less than flying to Europe! During the last 2 years, we have gone home 3 times, each for about 8-10 days. This all happened in the first year but we also went home to plan and be in our wedding! We had originally planned on 3 trips home during the whole 2 year MSc degree.

It depends on your program and your advisor how often/long you can go home. I know some grad students who go home for 1-2 months every summer and work remotely (for one student, their advisor also takes off for 2 months in the summer so there is really no reason for them to stay). I don't think 3 weeks is too much time if you will also be working a bit during this time. I think it's fair to take 2-3 full weeks off total during the year of no working at all, but 3 weeks all at once could be harmful to your progress if you don't do some work remotely too.

I think advisors understand that we would want to do longer visits if you are traveling further (i.e. international). But if this is important to you, you should talk to potential advisors about this before deciding on one. I know I screen my potential advisors as much as they screen me as an applicant -- i.e. would they be sympathetic towards my own family-focused goals, do they have hobbies/interests outside of research, etc. When talking with a potential advisor, I think it's important to steer the conversation away from academia after some point to really know if you can get along with them as a person as well as a research advisor!

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I'm a 4 hour, $500 flight away from home. I went home at Christmas and went home again a couple of weeks ago as a fabulous surprise for my dad's 50th birthday. I think I will go back at the end of August/beginning of September. Not sure about Christmas this year (have to think of my boyfriend's family as well). What's complicating things for me is that I've been taking a lot of time off to travel to play high level rugby, so it competes with family time unfortunately. My advisor goes away for a few months every summer and has no problem with me taking a few weeks off this July to travel to France for a rugby tournament.

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I'm at the end of my first year and I will go home for 2,5 weeks. I'm lucky because I'll be going to a conference in my home country, so it's a partly work related visit! But if that wasn't the case I would still have been allowed to go. It just means that, for example, I wasn't eligible for a summer teaching position.

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I definitely plan to go home in Christmas...not sure about summer because I may be working but it'd be nice to go home even if it's under two weeks. I'm actually starting to save for those plane trips home from now.

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How much time do we get over Christmas? I was under the impression that for those of us who will be TAing, Christmas will be like 4-5 days of vacation between the two semesters. Is this not the case?

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You might not have TA work during the exams period -- but it depends on your position whether you will be involved in exam marking or not (e.g. if you supervise labs, then you are probably finished by the last week of classes). But most schools have more than just 4-5 days between semesters -- what about the undergrads? How do they get a Christmas break if there are only 4-5 days between semesters?

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At least winter break. My parents surprised me this year with a ticket home for reading week, so I got to go home twice during the year. I'm spending most of the summer in Japan and the rest in Canada, so my parents paid for me to have a stop back home for a couple weeks before and after since they won't see me again till Christmas.

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I've been going back home twice a year since I moved to the US: for winter break and for the summer. Fortunately, my financial aid involves teaching, so when classes are over I don't need to stay on campus. Plus, my research requires me to go back home to collect data and I teach for my school's study abroad language program in my home country in the summer. Which means, I HAVE TO go back home every summer.

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I just recently found out that some schools have grad student vacation "policies". I put it in quotes because some schools have it as an official policy while others say that being a grad student in itself doesn't make you an employee (but being a TA or RA etc. does) so we don't technically get the right to vacation days unless we are employed as a TA or RA etc. Nevertheless, the policy in your actual lab will likely override any policy by the School or Faculty of Graduate Studies anyways.

That said, almost all schools I looked at had a similar policy of something like 10 working days off on top of any other days that the school is regularly closed (e.g. holidays, school closures for Christmas break and so on). But the policy, whether official or not, always say that students must arrange the days with their supervisors beforehand and they should be taken in a way to not disrupt the research work. So, common sense basically!

But it's sometimes helpful to know what your School/Faculty of Graduate Studies policy is so that you get the sense of what is an appropriate amount of time off when discussing this with your supervisor.

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I always just ask my supervisor if it's OK, and he's never said no. The way our group and supervisor relationship works we can basically be on vacation whenever we want. Half the people in our group don't need to even go to school if they don't want to, and a lot of them work from home on a regular basis as a result.

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