International mobility is becoming increasingly important for a successful research career. But, while international scientific experience offers many career-related benefits, it can be difficult to make it happen. And there are some disadvantages.
Over the years, Science Careers has investigated the pros and cons of training in a foreign lab. We've talked to mobile researchers about the many challenges of moving, working, and living abroad. Our interviewees have offered tips on dealing with the logistics of the move, finding a foreign lab, getting funding, applying for a visa -- even finding a school for the kids. We have asked scientist globetrotters about their experiences in a new culture, in and outside the lab. We have solicited advice on how to maximize the benefits of your research experience and ensure it's an enjoyable one. We have wondered whether it is always possible for expatriated scientists to find their way back home and have looked at ways to improve the odds.
Below is a list of what we consider our most valuable articles exploring international research experiences and what makes them successful.
Professional and personal experiences
Freelance writer Hilary Marshall looks at the reasons some undergraduates choose to do a Ph.D. abroad.
Born in Mexico, Beatriz Torres Beristain explains why her Ph.D. in the Netherlands was an opportunity to grow as a scientist rather than a long holiday in Europe.
Marta Maczel tells Science Careers how her postgraduate journey spanned four countries and gave her confidence to also succeed outside the lab.
Xinyan Huang shares tips on how she coped with language barriers and homesickness after leaving her native China for a postdoctoral fellowship in the United States.
An American in Paris offers guidance to other postdocs who are offered a chance to relocate with their PI and the lab.
Three scientists from Morocco, Japan, and Malaysia describe their experience becoming a minority in their new country of residence.
Ahcène Bounceur left Algeria for the opportunity to pursue a career in operations research and microelectronics in France.
A dual-career couple discusses the challenges and rewards of starting two science careers in a foreign country.
Two Irish twin brothers each got a fellowship for a postdoc in the same institution in Spain.
Our Career Doctor answers a final-year biochemistry undergraduate's query on how to find a lab abroad to work as a research assistant and tackles a physics Ph.D. student's concerns about the need to go abroad.
Freelance science writer Lucas Laursen asks foreign postdocs in the United States how they prepared for their move and what made their new training experiences successful. Laursen also took a look at the pros and cons for Americans of doing a postdoc in Europe.
Two features from the AAAS/Science Business Office investigate the challenges faced by foreign scientists in the United States and offer tips from scientists who have done a postdoc or sabbatical abroad.
Immigration issues and support networks
Science writer Lisa Seachrist Chiu looks at how visa delays for foreign scientists in the United States have been putting their science careers at risk.
Beryl Lieff Benderly discusses a paper focused not on what foreign-born scientists add to the scientific enterprise but on what their presence costs individual American scientists.
Ethnic networks are influential in channeling international graduate students and postdocs to American labs, Beryl Lieff Benderly reports.
Changes in the U.K. visa announced in 2008 meant closer scrutiny for non-European students.
Launched by the European Commission in 2003 and soon complemented by the ERA-MORE network of mobility centers, the Researchers' Mobility Portal -- now known as EURAXESS – Researchers in Motion -- helps scientists address obstacles to mobility to or within Europe.
The former Eastern Bloc countries have been moving slowly onto the international stage since the fall of the Berlin Wall some 20 years ago.
While the Bologna process is now harmonizing degree structures around Europe to foster student mobility, older generations of scientists are still facing complex procedures in countries such as Spain to get their foreign diplomas recognized.
Opportunities to come back
Freelance writer Christopher Berrie considers the dilemma faced by many expatriated scientists: Having left, can you ever break back into the system?
Science Careers Contributing Editor Elisabeth Pain discusses funding opportunities for young scientists in or coming to Europe under the European-Commission funded FP7 program, which is to expire in 2013.
Freelance science writer Chelsea Wald talks to several scientists trained in the United States who found faculty positions in Turkey.
From the Science Careers Blog (in reverse chronological order)
At the time this article was posted, a search for 'mobility' retrieves 199 articles. Searching on 'visa' returns 155 results, and searching for foreign postdocs yields 225 articles. A search on 'overseas' yields 199 results.