1. In brief, tell us about your PhD/Research work.
I have recently joined a Metabolic Quality Control lab in Poland. My PhD will revolve around the metabolism upon mitochondrial dysfunction.
2. If someone is looking for PhD opportunities abroad, what are the ways (websites/social media platforms, etc.) by which one can come across such advertisements?
There are multiple ways to find a position.
a. Follow a lab that you are interested in [website]
b. A topic/ field you are interested in & following the respective labs doing research in the area [website]
c. Most labs are active on Twitter (that's how I applied for my current position) [Social media]
d. You can also go through university portals, and every semester you find openings for applications to graduate school [ website]
3. How did you come across your current PhD program?
I came across my current position via Twitter and with the help of my previous mentor, who helped me sort the labs and open applications abroad. So, talking to people in the field with a common interest, experienced seniors and following web pages of the labs you are interested in will surely help you to apply.
4. A thing we often hear while applying for PhD abroad is 'SOP.' So, what best practice can one use to build the SOP?
While writing an SOP, keep it brief but crisp. It should be engaging while highlighting your interests, your experience in the field, why they should take you/ what your contributions to the lab can be and what you can learn from the lab to build a successful research career.
5. Is a research paper/s essential to enrol in a PhD program?
Not really, but it depends on the PI's perspective. Yes, some do prefer personnel with papers, but most of them gauge the depth of knowledge, understanding, passion for research, curiosity for the project they are proposing and how well you align with the project/group/ your interest with that of your PI's.
6. Similar to research papers, is prior lab experience/internship as project fellows or trainees essential/helpful to get a PhD position abroad?
I feel that prior lab experience is the most important thing a PhD applicant can have more than the research paper one owns. As it represents the tasks and how well one is technically inclined to understand, problem-solving capabilities and determinations to work in the respective field.
7. How much time should one expect while applying for these PhD programs from the date of application to enrollment?
This varies for different individuals, from 15 days to 3 months is the window, it can be much less if you are going through emailing the PI, and some are pretty fast to respond if they like your SOP & CV. There are rounds of interviews, there is always filtering of students that best fit the project.
8. What are the challenges one should expect while doing PhD abroad?
I say five things ( I didn't find it difficult to adjust, but it totally depends on the dynamics of the person with people around)
a. Language (if not English primarly used)
b. Weather ( from warm to cold)
c. Food (if one has preferences/ allergies/ restrictions to food types)
d. Homesick (you feel left out/ zoned out because one is away from loved ones)
e. Health (physical and mental depending on the conditions around)
I'm Deepti Mudartha, a PhD student at IMOL Polish Academy of Sciences in Poland. I have a master's degree in biotechnology from India. I previously worked as a Trainee at Prasanna Lab, ACTREC, which motivated me to take a PhD and join the research community.
Metabolic Quality Control Lab,
IMOL Polish Academy of sciences
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