The time has come for Toaster to begin pounding out emails with enough intelligence and wit to firmly lodge my real name into the skulls of potential advisors at Ph.D. programs I am interested in. I know well enough to use proper grammars and to include titles and whatnot, so it's not the content so much that has me worried. I figure I'll track down interesting PIs through program websites, read a recent paper or 5 by them, and then ask sparkling questions about their future research plans (eventually working in the question about whether or not they expect to have spots for students available in their labs for the next round).
However, recent developments render me much more mobile than I had previously been. Now that I don't have a serious girlfriend to consider and am forfeiting most of the furniture, I can pretty much move whereever in the world I might want to. Therefore, dear reader, what is the graduate school situation like in countries outside of the U.S.A.*? Are the academic customs and mores different? Do they fund students with tuition and stipends?
I first noted UCL (University College London) via the popsci book "Oxygen" by Dr. Nick Lane and then noted that it produces a lot of high quality research. There seem to be many other high-caliber research institutions in Britain as well**. At the same time, there are several groups in the Netherlands and one at the University of Munich doing very interesting immunological research. But I realize that my lens on this is entirely modulated through the Internet and as such may be missing some really cool/interesting/awesome groups, so who else is out there?
Toaster thanks you for your wisdom in advance.
*And not just those that speak English.
**I am somewhat concerned about the prospect of living in a country that hasn't seen a fresh vegetable since Cromwell (and eels don't count!), though at the same time the dangers of living in a city with a Würstchen-, Bier-, und Kuchen-based socioeconomic dialectic also seem manifest.
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