I'm a westerner doing my PhD in an Asian country. While writing this I've just finished my first year, but I'm getting so fed up with my academical environment that I decided to move my PhD.
One of the reasons why I went to Asia is that I'm in a technological field. Now a days with all these Asian countries up-and-coming, developing innovative products, it felt like a good moment to ride along on their train.
In the last year I'm experiencing major difficulties with my advisor and I'm not sure whether it's because of cultural differences or just me. Let me highlight some of the major issues:
- When I did my masters, my advisors were actually people who gave me advice. My current professor is somebody who gives orders instead of advice. The big problem with that is that there's usually no room for persuading him with counter arguments. As stubborn as I'm, it usually ends up in me ignoring what he says.
- There seems to be a big difference in how I approach weekly meetings. I make a selection of what I investigated during the week and decide myself which direction I go into and thus what I eventually present to him. It seems that he wants every direction thoroughly investigated and presented to him so that he can make a decision about the direction eventually.
These and other reasons, I don't think it makes people better. It won't let people think for themselves when they are just following. I got the comment last week that he thinks that my output is too low, but in fact I'm making the most progress, I'm just not presenting as much as everybody else because I make my own decisions upfront. I noticed that I intentionally not share everything with him anymore, because he always manage to turn everything upside down in one hour per week and ends with "just do it." Like he always creates the strangest and most complicated experimental designs (e.g., 3x3x3) with factors that I don't think are related. I just want to perform a simple 2x2 design and deepening it more and more based on the results. It just feels very odd that somebody who only gets involved into a project an hour per week gives orders about the direction.
Well the thing is that I seems to be the only one who thinks this is not normal. Since I always hear those stories that doing a PhD is always tough and sometimes makes you hate your advisor, I'd like to know where the problem is. I don't mind toughness, but it needs to serve a goal. Before I'm accepted to a different PhD in another country, I'd like to know if I'm getting in the same situation. If so, I don't think a PhD is the right thing for me then.