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dropping out & applying elsewhere due to nonacademic reasons


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This is madness (no exaggerations) and I have no clue what to do.


I'm enrolled to PhD programme in my country (in Europe), it's nothing top-shelf, but the match is good and I like it. They offered me a small scholarship just to cover basic needs. My supervisor is a little distant, but nice and I mostly do the things that I want, in my own pace. My SO has the same arrangement, but belongs to a lab and is more engaged in group work. Everything is fine, but between the decision to stay here and the present moment my country has gone wild in political terms and I'm simply afraid that living here would be unbearable in few years. So we started thinking about applying to grad schools abroad. Some interesting offers showed up, and now I'm overwhelmed in anxiety: is this a good decision? Would dropping out and applying elsewhere be frowned upon? How to navigate this - communicating those fears and asking for reccomendation letters to ouu current supervisors without burning bridges? There is always a chance that we won't get in anywhere and would have to stay here.


Please, I would highly appreciate any words of advice.

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  • 2 months later...


While I've never been in your situation, I think looking out for your own well-being and safety is an admirable and honorable reason to leave a program and apply elsewhere. I'm not sure if you're thinking of applying to any schools in the US, but all the applications I've seen here have a space devoted to explaining why you've chosen to leave your previous program (if applicable). I'm assuming this means that your situation is not unheard of and that schools understand this may be the case with some students. If you have a supervisor or advisor who you can get feedback from on the situation in confidence, that would be helpful. If you can submit applications while continuing your current program (just in case you don't get accepted anywhere), I say do it. There is no point in putting forth all the effort and sacrifices to complete a program in a place where you will not thrive.

I wish you the best of luck in your journey! 

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