There is a lot of pressure on young scientists to go abroad. There are even good reasons NOT to go abroad. Therefore, many young scientists wonder whether they should go abroad already during their PhD to increase their market value. Is this a good idea?
There is no doubt that any stay abroad adds a little bonus to your CV. Potential employers will always presume that you have broadened your horizon, that you have learned intercultural skills and that you have learned additional techniques.
Unfortunately, most PhD supervisors are not in favor of sending their PhD students to another lab for a number of reasons:
- It is rather challenging to produce publishable data during short stays, thus, many supervisors are afraid that this time may be lost. However, theoretically it may be a productive way to build up relationships with other labs.
- The PhD student has to stop all experiments in the home lab. It may be unfavorable for finishing ongoing studies in time. This may even prolong the time needed to finish the PhD and may exceed the funding period.
- The PhD student is paid by the supervisor but is working for somebody else.
- The PhD student is not available for the daily/weekly duties in the home lab such as cleaning benches, checking cells or taking care of experiments during the weekend. Thus, this work has to be done by other lab members who often show only limited enthusiasm to increase their workload.
Thus, there must be very good reasons for a short stay abroad during the PhD period. One of the most convincing reasons may be that the PhD student learns a new technique or method which can then be transferred to the home lab.