Saturday, August 10, 2013

The next episode..

IST, Lisbon, commonly called "Tecnico"
I thought of writing this quick post answering some of the questions I often receive regarding the master studies in Europe, and specifically Erasmus Mundus (which is to be re-branded as "Erasmus+", making all similar exchange programs such as Erasmus come under the same name). 

The commonest question is, why did I pick Europe for my higher studies, instead of the US or Australia. European masters provide a nice combination of research and academics in a single master, as opposed to the complete research oriented master courses and academic master courses. Of course, the mandatory mobility of Erasmus Mundus, where we are expected to study in at least two countries during our masters is something I really liked.

Erasmus Mundus
Most of the students going to the US are going for their PhD. They get funded mostly by being a research assistant or teaching assistant. IMO, it is hard for a student to get a scholarship for masters in the US. There are research masters in Canada and the US, with similar paid research assistantship. However, Erasmus Mundus is a scholarship. You are not expected to be an assistant. You just study. The monthly allowance of 1000 Euro is pretty much enough to cover the stay in Europe, along with the travel allowances for travelling home and installation (4000 Euro/year).

ISCTE-IUL, a public university in Lisbon
Most of the PhD programs in the Europe require you to have a masters, where you can directly apply to be a PhD student in the US and Australia. Though I had a goal of pursuing a doctorate, I wanted to work for a year or two immediately following my masters. Hence European master gave me a better option, than applying for a 5 year long program of the US, which covers the MSc+PhD (Australia seems to provide the fastest, with just 3 years for the combination). European doctorate programs such as Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate programs have a period of 4 years.

A break?
Should we apply to the higher studies immediately after graduating from our bachelors? It depends on your personal profile. I mean, if you have a good experience, have published papers, very good GPA, you can apply immediately after the bachelors. Otherwise, better to gain some experience. Just to note that these scholarships are competitive. In my opinion, working somewhere before going abroad for higher studies is advantageous, as it gives you some exposure outside your friend circle. Nevertheless, these are just my personal opinions, and I have met many professors and scholars who would advice to go for higher studies, immediately following the bachelors, to keep up with the momentum.

See you soon!
Time has surely gone fast for me. Completing one academic year as well as the summer vacation, getting ready for the second (and final) year of my masters. Life is getting more exciting and faster. One thing I learned during these days was that life is not a destination or reaching the destinations; but a continuous journey. With that positive note, I am getting back to my world, hoping to come up with something more useful or (and?) interesting soon. ^_^

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