I have applied to PhD programs in ecology in Europe (Germany, Denmark, UK) and Oceania (Australia/New Zealand). Now the deadlines for US programs are coming up and I am debating whether I should apply there as well. Aside from the exorbitant cost to apply to US programs I am interested in comparing the pros and cons as far as career opportunities. I have ready a MS from a major US university and I will turn 31 soon. My career goals are to pursue a teaching/research position.
Assuming that the potential advisors satisfy my requirements (good publishing track, personable, successful students, international connections) and that there will be funding. I will consider "rest of the world" and USA.
Rest of the world: - can be completed in three years, in this case I will have gained two years for a possible Post Doc, and also make use of my Masters - I will be able to just focus on research without being a teaching assistant, from what I understand publications would count more than teaching assistant experience even for a 50%/50% research/teaching position - it might be harder in case I want to find a job in the US, especially since I will not be located within the country - there are no obligations to complete courses - pay rate is generally decent compared to cost of living
USA: -I am under the impression that with a PhD from a top US institution is well-regarded internationally and would be easier to find a job in Europe or Australia - the teaching experience could be useful to me as I would like to also be involved in education alongside with research - there is more time to explore and think about research questions and goals, as opposed to Europe where you join to develop a certain project - the stipend and the US is very low also compared to the living costs especially on the West Coast. It would mean five years of financial sacrifice - more chances to perhaps be involved in other projects, it seems there is more of an open research community within departments - it might be productive to take some classes that are taught by top profile professors
Are the extra time spent and the financial sacrifice for a US PhD worthwhile for my career goals and my preparation has a successful educator/researcher? Will my international mobility be limited based on where I graduate?