I've been offered a T-T position in Australia. Anyone know if it's hugely difficult to return back to the US from a position abroad?
Date: 21 Dec 2009 02:40
Number of posts: 6
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The only real difference when coming back from an international TT position is it will cost quite a bit more to fly you out for the interviews than someone in the US, as such (in theory) you won't get as many interviews, but the ones you do get are very serious about considering you so you'll be less likely to waste your time.
Of course that's assuming you do decide to come back ;)
I had a faculty position in the UK for five years and only recently moved back to the US. My impression is that the UK and the Aussie system are more similar than either system is to the US system.
I had a great experience in the UK and only moved back for personal reasons. The biggest plus is that teaching loads tend to be lighter outside the US. I only spent about 25 hours a year in the classroom and only half of that time consisted of lectures (though my university is very research oriented). That means that both you and your colleagues have more time for research so things get done faster. Grant applications are also shorter than US grants, and I had good success with UK funding agencies.
Funding PhD students is more difficult in the UK than in the US. There were few teaching positions for students so they have to bring their own funding or you have to pay them from a grant. Not sure if that's true in Oz too.
It took me several years to find a position in the US, but given how terrible the market has been, it's hard to say whether my location played a role in that. Top departments won't worry about the airfare, but I can imagine that's not true for some departments. What I found difficult was dealing with jet-lag, particularly on West Coast interviews. I'd arrive a few days early to try to adjust, but several late afternoon talks were still rough. Obviously the jet-lag from Oz would be even worse.
I know three Americans with positions in Australia, and all are happy there. They might not ever come back.
I did a postdoc in New Zealand and while it was a pretty good experience, it was difficult coming back. I can imagine there would be some trouble returning to a TT job here as well. We had to come back without jobs because of the difficulty applying from abroad.
Unfortunately there is a bit of snobbery regarding overseas jobs in academics stateside. There is some absolutely wonderful work going on in New Zealand and Australia, but a lot of folks don't take it seriously. However, I didn't have a TT job there- so maybe its a different story than a postdoc.
Thanks for the info. Regarding New Zealand-what were some of the pluses/minuses of living/working abroad. Have you found something in the US? Was it tough communicating with job possibilities in the US or just no "bites"? Were you fairly productive on your post doc? Thanks again!
I'll avoid mentioning specifics so I don't out my spouse. But two things to consider when going overseas, is that any grants you get will *not* come back with you and are (unofficially)a bit harder to get as a non citizen (not to mention smaller in terms of value due to the size of the country…) and you'll be considerably more expensive to interview. So be careful leaving the US. My spouse has been trying to come back to the states for the last 2 job cycles and has so far been unsuccessful despite having a good publication record(maybe the 3rd time in 2011 will be the charm). Mind you, they are a lot better off than the people who are unsuccessful and not employed in academia as at least they still get to conduct research in their chosen field.
Best of luck.