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Old 14.04.2009, 22:14
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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Yea, Iím aware of the quality of undergrad in US. for sure I will try for a master or phd there. Without financial support or scholarship in US studying is almost impossible I guess.
Make sure you make your research. I did my PhD abroad, and I wish I never left Switzerland. Academically speaking, the level was too low and pay was miserable. Then again, your personal situation might be entirely different. In any case, don't forget that you could always move to the US after your PhD, for a postdoc. The people I know, who moved to the US after their PhDs in Switzerland, obtained postitions in places such as Harvard, Berkeley, Stanford (hard sciences). As for financial support, there are scholarships available (but make sure you enquire early!).
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Old 14.04.2009, 22:25
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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in comparison with Switzerland. Can someone list?
(Iím more interested to know about life of academic people in USA vs Switzerland)
You should consider funding opportunities in both countries. Engineering and Science (two example areas where you can get paid to do grad work) are currently funding <10% of NSF or NIH grant proposals in the States (i.e. <10% of US grants are fully funded, >90% rejected). I have heard that it is more like 40% in Switzerland (please correct me if I am wrong).

I worked in a productive group in a good research university, but we still had to let people go because there was simply no more money to pay them. I personally took a pay cut in my last few months because of the funding situation.

So if you want to have someone else pay for your schooling, please consider if there is any money available in your field.
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  #63  
Old 14.04.2009, 22:26
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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This is in regards to the U.S. health care system:

I also come from the U.S. of A. (Texas) but before moving here I lived in Indiana. I also have a so-called pre-existing condition (Diabeties) which I have had for over 20 years. I got crap health care in my home country! At that time in my life (9 years ago), I did not work for a company which provided health care for all of its employees so I had to pay for EVERYTHING up front. It was not good by any stretch of the imagination. Just because of my good health care in Switzerland (I have lived in Lausanne, ZŁrich and now Basel), among many other things, I would remain here in Switzerland. Plus I hear about all the crap HMO's deal out to individuals. So, be careful. I have heard other horror stories from other American's still living in the U.S.
Good point. I think anyone who wants to move to the USA should watch Michael Moore's 'sicko'... after watching ask yourself if you still want to go.

Personally, if I would every decide to try to move across the pond I would opt for Canada...
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  #64  
Old 14.04.2009, 22:39
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

I will personally say I would not advise anyone to make any decisions based on Michael Moore films. There are plenty of places to research the differences from non-biased sources. Sometimes Michael Moore has a point and the health care system has problems especially if you are not employed but we have to take his movies with a grain of salt. I am not saying he does not have a point but the picture is never as blissfully ugly as he likes to paint it. I know that his films fit in with a certain worldview of America as a bad place and we do have alot of problems and are not the perfect country as sometimes our politicians, media, visiting tourists like to paint it but our country is also not as bad some people are inclined to think it is. My general recommendation in life is to think for yourself, and don't let the government, Television, media or teachers think for you. Most people have an opinion on a country and their people based on very little actual knowledge of the place - this is a worldwide phenomena. Find out for yourself. Don't be an ignorant fool.
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  #65  
Old 14.04.2009, 22:44
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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Good point. I think anyone who wants to move to the USA should watch Michael Moore's 'sicko'... after watching ask yourself if you still want to go.

Personally, if I would every decide to try to move across the pond I would opt for Canada...
i am overall a michael moore fan but the guy has an agenda and tells bare faced lies to ram his point home. check out the documentary manufacturing dissent for details.
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  #66  
Old 14.04.2009, 22:46
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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Wow...I know this is an opinion based message board but still.....

http://tr.truveo.com/Christianity-fa.../id/3890817989

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29585222/

And the VAST majority of these 'zealots' are just non violent, harmless, (friendly and accepting) people
Ah, but as friendly as they may be, they do get involved in politics and try to change the laws to their way of thinking, rather than for what is best for everyone.
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  #67  
Old 14.04.2009, 22:46
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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- I've been to NY and SF, basically the USA is the same everywhere. There is a Mac everywhere, Burger king, Wendy and they all look the same whereever you are. No real variety
I was debating starting a new thread but think this fits (otherwise please move), do people really feel that USA is the same everywhere? I am not picking on BasP72, I saw this in many posts.

The laws are more or less the same and there are common stores, but each city has distinct characteristics. It takes living in those cities to really know them. I have lived in the Philadelphia area and in North Central Florida - the differences are vast.

PS: I have seen a McDonalds also in multiple cities in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland - are they also all the same?
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Old 14.04.2009, 22:50
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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Interesting how different experiences can be.

I had more vacation days per year in the U.S. than I have here now. Both times my employer was/is a large financial services company. And I always took all my vacation days, we even had a rule in the U.S. that you had to take a 2-week leave once a year.

I also found the U.S. health care system to be more affordable and of higher quality than the Swiss system.
The two weeks is a banking requirement, so that they can see if you are embezzling from them.

My last job in the US was at a financial institution, and they gave us about four weeks off for my job level (not managerial) and length of time there - vacation and sick time were lumped together. So, if you got sick, you didn't get to have any vacation time. And taking either vacation or sick time in any place I've worked in the US was strongly frowned upon.
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Old 14.04.2009, 22:51
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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I was debating starting a new thread but think this fits (otherwise please move), do people really feel that USA is the same everywhere?
That's a great question, and the answer is NO. I was just watching a video clip of Texas Governor Rick Perry affirming Texas' sovereignty under the 10th Amendment. I think life in the 'states will soon get interesting:

Gov. Perry Backs Resolution Affirming Texas’ Sovereignty Under 10th Amendment


There are a number of very distinct regions and histories:

-The Northwest (Portand/Seattle)
-Northern California
-Southern California
-The Southwest (Arizona, NM, NV)
-Texas
-The Great Plains
-The Rockies
-Great Lakes
-The Bijous
-New York
-New England
-The South

Other than geographic regions, there are many thousands tribes of people that are made up of various social, cultural and economical groups.

If anyone tells you otherwise, its because they've probably never been there and has only seen it on TV.

Last edited by Phos; 14.04.2009 at 23:01.
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  #70  
Old 14.04.2009, 22:58
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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in comparison with Switzerland. Can someone list?
(Iím more interested to know about life of academic people in USA vs Switzerland)
And is it worth to move from Switzerland to USA for someone who has opportunity to live in one of these countries?
i moved from zurich to new york city. here's my opinion:

zurich: relaxed, high wages, close to nature, easy access to european travel, boring, bad opening hours, xenophobic, hard to meet people, user-unfriendly language, difficult to obtain non-european food, lake, expensive

nyc: exciting, loud, busy, crowded, great for culture vultures and night owls, 24/7 public transport, good for foodies, beach, lots of young / single people
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Old 14.04.2009, 22:58
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

I did my undergrad in engineering in the US and am just finishing my Masters at ETH Zurich. The original question involved pros and cons of the US with focus on the academic aspects, and here are my thoughts on that. I guess undergrad comparison is not really needed, but I'd say you're better prepared academically if you do your undergrad here (ETH undergrad seems very theoretical compared to many US schools). But the US universities are stronger at getting you ready for more hands-on engineering work. I didn't do masters in the US, but I can make some comparisons based on what I know and have heard. The lists are in random order and not in any order of importance or anything.

Pros US master/phd:
-Many grad engineering programs (usually ms/phd or phd programs) are well-funded, and you can get teaching assistanship/research assistanship to fund your studies.
-Small class size- lectures can be more like discussion sessions.
-Lecture style- instructor normally writes everything on the board so you can follow and ask detailed questions.
-So many schools in the country and you can switch schools or advisors if necessary.
-Diverse students from all over the world.
-Relaxed social environment
-Motivated people
-Dedicated and helpful teaching assistants

Cons US master/phd:
-You'll work like a slave with teaching assistant duties or just working long hours and even on the weekends.
-May be hard to find funding for the first year => a lot of loans.
-Very low salary for any assistanship (about 25K/year and it will be taxed).
-No designated holidays.
-Crowded office space shared among many students.
-Messy labs and work environment.

Pros Switzerland (ETH specifically):
-Very good and stable salary if you're a phD student (at least twice as high as the US).
-phD students are employeed by the school so 5 weeks of vacation
-More relaxed work environment.
-Spacious office space and lots of windows.
-Little funding available to master students but tuition is only about 500 CHF/semester and many earn ~30CHF/hour working as an assistant for class or office work.

Cons Switzerland (ETH specifically):
-Lecture style. Most of lecturers use pre-made slides which can be hard to follow unless you study beforhand. So must be disciplined to learn all the details on your own (but you might like this better if you're used to it).
-Examination system- most ms courses require oral exams lasting 30 minutes or less. There are usually no practice exams and it's very hard to guess what will be asked.
-Many lecturers not very devoted or skilled.
-Some master students lack academic integrity. Students are overloaded with classes and some copy homework.
-Hierarchy between phd's and the rest of "undergraduates" (used to be diploma system which is equivalent to bs+ms).
-Many professors have many phd students and can be hard to meet with them. Expect to be advised by a phd student if you're ms.
-Bad mensa food.

Hope that helps with your decision making process.
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Old 14.04.2009, 23:00
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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Ah, but as friendly as they may be, they do get involved in politics and try to change the laws to their way of thinking, rather than for what is best for everyone.
true but after 8 years of bush most of the country (including many previously red-states) voted for obama who, while lamentably still a christian, is pro-science and pro-choice.

edit: just saw this relevant article:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature...on/index1.html
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  #73  
Old 14.04.2009, 23:06
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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I was debating starting a new thread but think this fits (otherwise please move), do people really feel that USA is the same everywhere? I am not picking on BasP72, I saw this in many posts.

The laws are more or less the same and there are common stores, but each city has distinct characteristics. It takes living in those cities to really know them. I have lived in the Philadelphia area and in North Central Florida - the differences are vast.

PS: I have seen a McDonalds also in multiple cities in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland - are they also all the same?

Yes, I have seen that comment many times and I have never really understood it. NYC is oftentimes closer to European culture and values especially European cities, than the place I grew up in the middle of nowhere in the Great Plains (my middle of the nowhere home state actually compares in many ways to Swiss culture and values).... I know that may sound funny to some Europeans and Americans but it is true as I see it...
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Old 14.04.2009, 23:10
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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Yes, I have seen that comment many times and I have never really understood it. NYC is oftentimes closer to European culture and values especially European cities, than the place I grew up in the middle of nowhere in the Great Plains (my middle of the nowhere place actually compares in many ways to Swiss culture and values).... I know that may sound funny to some Europeans and Americans but it is true as I see it. .
having lived in both europe and new york, i never understood the comparison; could you elucidate?
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Old 14.04.2009, 23:12
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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having lived in both europe and new york, i never understood the comparison; could you elucidate?
Where else have you lived in the US? It is a relative comparison. If you have only lived the tri state of NY, you won't get it.

Would your average Frenchman feel more at home in New York, Dallas or Los Angeles from a cultural standpoint? How about an Italian? An Irishmen? A Brit?

Last edited by dakman; 14.04.2009 at 23:23.
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  #76  
Old 14.04.2009, 23:12
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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The USA is one of the most conservative Christian places on Earth... half the population are god-fearing religious zealots, the type who voted for Bush.
perhaps you can explain this then: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009...inees-abortion
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Old 14.04.2009, 23:18
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... obama who, while lamentably still a christian, is pro-science and pro-choice.
That is correct. In fact, he's shopping around for a church:
What Church Will President Obama Attend?

As for an assessment based on Michael Lind's article on Salon, I suggest more critical thinking to get to the truth of the matter.

I don't think anyone will force religion on anybody in America. Afterall, we taught most of the world not to do that, didn't we? That is why the forefathers left this continent.

By the way, please don't turn this thread into a venue for your bigotry.
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Old 14.04.2009, 23:29
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PS: I have seen a McDonalds also in multiple cities in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland - are they also all the same?

FYI: The whole reason for McDonald's existence is so that travelling Americans can always find "the same"; whether in Islamabad, Peking, Kansas or Paris. Its the brand experience they've been developing and marketing.
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Old 14.04.2009, 23:33
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Re: Pros and Cons of living in the USA

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FYI: The whole reason for McDonald's existence is so that travelling Americans can always find "the same"; whether in Islamabad, Peking, Kansas or Paris. Its the brand experience they've been developing and marketing.

Yes but in recent 10 years, Mcdonalds has adopted a more local approach to food. They now sell things in Europe they don't sell in America. it is still stuff that is ultimately bad for you but at least it is more localized badness now. Maybe they are now marketing to Americans who live in Europe and have adopted European tastes?
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Old 14.04.2009, 23:52
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Maybe they are now marketing to Americans who live in Europe and have adopted European tastes?
Around here, there was a time when eating at McDonald's was considered dining out. I'd hate to say this, but I mainly seek out McDonald's when I'm in need of a clean bathroom.
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