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Young scientist in the USA: "The universities are better equipped"

Austin, Texas, hosts the annual South by Southwest Festival (SXSW), the world's largest digital meeting. Here Twitter and Foursequare were born and also German delegations advertise there regularly to American startups. A young mathematician has gone the other way, she lives and researches for some time in the US. What are your experiences?


40.000 scientists and skilled workers leave Germany every year

About 40.000 scientists and highly skilled workers leave Germany every year because they find better working conditions abroad. One of them is the Frenchwoman Marie-Amelie Lawn.

Marie-Amelie has always lived internationally: her father is English, she studied mathematics and physics at the University of Bonn. Then she promoted as mathematician in Bonn and in the French Nancy.

Why Austin?

Finally, worked several years in various scientific positions in France, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Germany. Thus, she is familiar with various higher education systems and is well aware of the step over the large pond.

There are also personal reasons that it turned out to be Austin: “The University of Texas is the largest and most renowned university in Texas. And it also has a very good reputation, especially for mathematics. "


University as an important economic factor of the city

In addition to the IT and music industry, the university is an important economic factor for Austin, the fastest growing city in the USA. It has 50.000 students and a large number of employees. This makes it one of the largest employers in the city.

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“In the USA, I have comparatively more freedom,” she explains. "American universities also have more money than in Europe, which improves the research conditions considerably."

The universities are better equipped than in Germany

But that's not all: "The university sports facilities or the music school are also very well equipped, much better than I know them from Europe," reports the scientist.

However, the expectations of the teaching staff are also very high: “The students really demand optimal supervision because they pay up to 40.000 dollars for their studies if they are not from Texas,” says the scientist. “Of course, this takes a lot of time , but I also want my students to really learn something! "

How to make a leap into the USA?

To get a job as a lecturer, Marie-Amelie has applied for a regular tender and has been accepted. Much more complicated was getting an H - B1 visa for the US.

"It took four months," says Marie-Amelie: "I had already signed my contract last April, but the visa wasn't until August, which was very stressful."


Visa for highly educated people

Although the visa does not offer the same flexibility as a green card, it still has many advantages: “H - B1 is a visa for highly educated people with a degree beyond the master’s degree.

I initially got it for three years and can extend it for another three years, ”she reports. Of course, the university supported her in applying for a visa. There is one shortcoming: If Marie-Amelie wants to change employers, the visa expires.

Foreign Office as a hub and point of reference

With the visa, however, she can also travel to another country at any time without losing her residence permit in the USA. However, one disadvantage is that she always has to take a H - B1 form with her on every trip abroad and bring her back to the Foreign Office on her return.

“That costs additional time, but it also has advantages: The Foreign Office here in Austin is very committed to supporting foreign scientists and organizes excursions, for example. I made a lot of new friends here, ”reports the young mathematician.

Austin - the most liberal city in Texas

Austin is generally considered to be the Texan city where Europeans can still live best: The city in conservative Texas is comparatively liberal and is also known as the “world capital of live music”.

On a weekend there are 60 to 80 concerts in some pubs, even during the week it is still 30 to 40. And twice a year there are great music festivals like the South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits.


Cowboys and Booles games

In Austin, however, many different cultures come together: on Saturdays, Marie sometimes goes to Texas dancing in the Whitehorse, where other guests also come with the horse.

On Sundays, the French Legation Museum hosts a game of boules. And on Mondays, there are jazz sessions with country elements and musicians from Nashville and Michigan in the Elephant-Room.

Washing machine in the garden

In general, the clocks tick a little differently here than in Europe. The mood in Austin is relaxed, the weather is mostly good and the washing machine is in the garden, while the houses are barely insulated against the cold: "It can get really cold - but only for a few days," says Marie-Amelie .


Overall, Marie-Amelie finds her new life in Austin very exciting and feels good imagineto stay in Texas for a few years. In the long term, however, she hopes to get a job on the US East Coast or in California.

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One response to "Young scientist in the USA:" Universities are better equipped ""

  1. Anton says:

    Irsinnig good contribution! That's exactly how it looks in the university landscape.

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