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American PhD in the Netherlands


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So this is a bit premature, as I'm just about to start my PhD, but it's something my fiancee and I have been talking about and I'd just like some feedback as we ruminate on it because it might change how I approach the job market. (I thought about putting this in City Guide but I settled on this forum because my questions mostly concern working)


Once I have my PhD in 5 years, I'm considering moving to the Netherlands. My fiancee has family there and we've always found the idea appealing.


I've done some minor research into how people with PhDs in the Humanities from American universities fare in the Netherlands, and they seem to do fairly well. My biggest concern is being able to make my huge student loan payments once I start working.


I'll have a PhD in English from UCONN, which isn't a top-ranked school by USNR but is by NRC standards (via The Chronicle), so I'm not sure if that would hurt my chances (will they have only heard of places like Harvard or Princeton? will it matter if they aren't extremely familiar with the university?). I also don't know what the overall job market is like. How is it compared to the states for those holding a PhD in a field in the humanities? I've read about new liberal arts programs that are apparently weeding out some of the problematic issues that traditional institutions have.


I know that the promotion system works somewhat differently, though I've read that they are beginning to move to a tenure track system. Is it true that they tend to run most programs in English (I wouldn't be opposed to learning Dutch--I took German for 8 years and I can mostly understand Dutch as a result, but I would prefer to teach in English since I won't be fluent in Dutch)?


Also, has anyone else made the move? How was the adjustment, etc.? My fiancee and I are both women and it seems we would maybe feel a bit more comfortable being out and about there than in the US, but that might be because we're only familiar with the cities in the Netherlands. Her grandparents were Dutch and were extremely conservative, but they also immigrated to the US in the 40s. If it matters, we tend to be the sort who would prefer a longer commute if it means having a bigger place.

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You may find this blog post helpful, although this is not talking specifically about Linguistics: http://theprofessorisin.com/2013/05/13/the-dutch-academic-job-market-for-americans-and-other-english-speakers/


I also keep an eye on this: https://www.academictransfer.com/


I also consider settling somewhere in Europe because my Masters is from the UK and I feel uncomfortable living in the US (I'm happy with my PhD program though). I'm also not hesitant to learn languages (I speak French and have taught myself Italian. English isn't my first language!).


But I'm currently not so sure if the plan is viable. So I'm curious about this thread.

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I am from the Netherlands, though I am in a completely different field. As I understand it, American PhDs from the top schools (HYPSM + some great schools in your field, if you stay in academia) give you a plus. Most American PhDs are not looked favorably upon but neither are they an impediment. They are considered PhDs like all others. The Netherlands are general quite open for academics from abroad, so you should be fine in this respect. They are probably more interested in you research than the school you are from.

I have no idea about how the promotion system officially works, but there is no such thing as tenure track. You can be an excellent researcher working in academia for 30 years and never becoming a prof. I believe this is different than in the US, but I could be wrong.

All (?) Master's programs in the Netherlands are taught in English. I am inclined to think that all Bachelor's in English literature and/or linguistics are also taught in English. At least the one at my university is. You should be fine in this respect too. :)

Edited by Kleene
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