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The best place to do a Phd In Psychology. Affordable and safe

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Hi 

I was in Frankfurt for about 2 years as part of my husband's job relocation and we had to move back to India. I really loved the place and is considering Germany to do my Phd from one of the universities there. I am currently doing my PG in Psychology and would like to study further in Germany. But if I have to move to a new place I would also have to find schools for my kids. I don't know German ( just a few words I used to use while I was in Frankfurt) . 

I would like to know 

1) If it is possible for me to get a part time job (English speaking ) while doing PHD 

2) Which places are the cheapest to opt for and which universities are recommended 

3) Is it ok to bring kids along and if enrolling them in public school be a good idea 

4) Is it possible to manage kids and studies (If I don't bring anyone for support to take care of kids ) 

5) How easy or difficult is it to get admission for PhD 

 

I am researching about the universities and cost of living there and is planning to move by next year. I would like to hear about the experiences of doing Phd from Germany. Happier to hear experiences of Psychologists doing PHD from any German universities. 

 

I heard that higher education is affordable in Germany.  But I am not sure if I can meet the cost of living. I had done my graduation in engineering and was working with an MNC for 10 years. Would it in anyway help me to get a job that can meet the expenses there . 

 

I am looking forward to hearing your comments. 

Thanks in Advance.

 

IK Nair 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Usually PhD positions have a stipend, but it is very hard to get them. It is even harder to get one in psychology because of language requirements. I don't know whether any graduate schools have such a program . Do check daad.de for information

If you get a place for your kids in kindergarten , then yes, doing PhD is possible from an effort point if view.

But applying from india and securing a PhD position in psychology sounds very difficult to me. 

May be it is easier for your husband to get a job and move here,. Once you are here then you have more freedom and opportunities to find what you look for

 

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1) Theoretically, yes. However, from a practical standpoint you won't have time to work a part-time job in addition to studying and taking care of kids.

2) The cheapest cities are in small cities in the eastern part of the country where usually little English is spoken. 

3) You can only bring your kids along if you have sufficient funds to support them. 

4) Considering the school system I think it would be very difficult to complete a PhD while taking care of small children with no family support unless you have substantial savings for childcare.

5) It depends on the subject. It is easier to find PhD positions that don't require German in technical subjects. I doubt there are any programmes in Germany that will meet all of your requirements. Start by researching where you could study in English and then post again.

 

BTW, I would not recommend moving to Germany within the next 3 years anyway. The pandemic has thrown an overburdened school system into chaos and it'll take some time to sort itself out.

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My experience is from Physics, I don't know how relevant it is for Psychology. Like you, I am from a non-EU country:

1) If it is possible for me to get a part time job (English speaking ) while doing PHD

 I don't know if the visa will allow it. My visa specifically stated that my visa was linked to my studies and I was only allowed to work for the university (but I started with the MSc. and then went for the Ph.D.).

2) Which places are the cheapest to opt for and which universities are recommended 

I am not sure. But Ph.D. work is paid and it is usually enough for your expenses. I would also advise that you check if the given state has xenophobic tendencies (just check around, they are easy to find from the news), you might have a bad time as a foreigner.

3) Is it ok to bring kids along and if enrolling them in public school be a good idea 

I have seen Ph.D. students raising kids, but I am not sure how that works.

4) Is it possible to manage kids and studies (If I don't bring anyone for support to take care of kids )

No idea about your specific situation. In my case, I probably wouldn't have been able to. 

5) How easy or difficult is it to get admission for PhD 

I would say it is not easy, because the research group usually has to pay you and there are many applicants. I have been on both sides of the process and it is, for all practical purposes, a job interview. Now, if you come with a full scholarship (for example, from the DAAD), I am sure a lot of advisors will be happy to get a free worker.

 

Edit: oh, about "safe", I would say that Germany is a pretty safe place overall. The only real danger would be extreme-right people (e.g., racists, neo-nazis, etc.). Even then, it is still fairly safe (you might get unlucky, though). A good measure of how xenophobic a place is can be found in the election results. In particular, check for AfD voters, they run on a nationalist and xenophobic platform.

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I don't know anything about your field, but in sciences, PhD is employment, not "studies". The German system of Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter does not differentiate between researchers with and without a PhD degree, only years of experience count, so a person with the degree will have a higher salary due to more years of experience. However, recognizing job experience abroad is on case-by-case basic, so sometimes postdocs are treated like 1st year PhD students. 

 

Also, PhD students are often employed on a 50%/70% part-time basis while working full-time de facto. Clarify this with your future PI and demand 100% employment. 

 

If you are employed, you contribute to a German pension and can either withdraw these money later, or when you get 67 years old. 

 

First two years your visa is tied to your employer. Then you can have a second job, but the job contracts normally stipulate that you need a permission from your PI. 

 

Of course, there are PhD positions with the scholarship only, then you get a student visa and cannot work at all (except certain minimum amount of hours). This is less recommended. 

 

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