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International Mobility

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.

Starting in 2003, Science Careers's Personal Journeys gather the experiences of recipients of the European Commission's Marie Curie postdoctoral Fellowships for mobility from, to, and within Europe.

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.

Career advice

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.

Irene S. Levine, our Minds Matter expert, discusses how knowing what's ahead can make it easier for scientists working overseas to adjust to a new culture.

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.

Taken for Granted columnist Beryl Lieff Benderly explains the controversy surrounding the H-1B visa in the United States and the difficulties faced by its holders.

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.

A 2005 European Union directive introduced what is now commonly called the "scientific visa" to ease the entry of non-European scientists into Europe and to ease their mobility around the continent.

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.

Since 2007, the European Molecular Biology Organization has been offering Installation Grants to help less well-off countries in Europe attract talent back home.

Freelance science writer Chelsea Wald talks to several scientists trained in the United States who found faculty positions in Turkey.

Country specials

Living and working in France

Scientific Exchange in Australia

A New Sun Rising: Scientific Exchange and Cooperation With Japan

Scientific Opportunities in China

Research Opportunities in India: An Upward Trajectory

From the Science Careers Blog (in reverse chronological order)

New U.K. Visas for Exceptional Talent

Call for ERC Starting Grants Now Open

New Rules for Student Visas in the U.K.

The Structure of Training, Not Inadequate Funding, Is Causing Young American Scientists to Look Abroad for Opportunities

Can Education Reform Keep Chinese Science Students at Home?

Seeking Opportunities Abroad

A Bonus for Hiring Foreign Scientists?

Is the H-1B Good for America?

Shorter Permit Procedures for Foreign Scientists to Work in Spain

In Australia, Research Cuts Threaten to Push Research Stars into Exile

Top Qualities for Expatriates

To Stay in America or Return to India?

Becoming a Foreign Faculty Member

Dual Career Couples at ESOF

Launch of the Global Young Academy

Behind the Scenes: Dual-Scientist Couples

More H-1B Workplace Inspections Underway

International Science, Engineering Students Increase at U.S. Universities

Cuba: The Next Exchange Opportunity for American Scientists?

Have Your Say: Young Scientists and Mobility

More on Faculty Positions in France: How to Get One

H-1B Visa Quota Unfilled, Application Deadline Extended

Congressional Supporter Backs Away from Increased H-1B Visas

U.S. Visa Problems Hitting Science Postdocs and Students

Stimulus Bill Imposes H-1B Visa Limits (Updated x 2)

European Opportunities for South African Scientists

UK Tries to Attract World's Best Postdocs

More on European Mobility

Hostility to Trailing Spouses

A Portrait of Racism in Europe

An Extended Life for Erasmus (Mundus)

Grants for North Americans for Study and Research in Germany

Update on U.S. Passports

China's Brain Drain

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.

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