I'm graduating from my Bachelor programme in Computer Science and Engineering at EPFL (Switzerland) next year, in July. Although I can continue at EPFL for my Master's degree (or an even higher ranked institution), I reckon I have the right profile to have a good shot at getting into an excellent Master's programme in the United States.
Although there's a lot of hype surrounding graduate studies in the US, especially for MIT/Harvard/Stanford/etc., there are a lot of sacrifices to be made (notwithstanding the complicated admission procedures).
The reason I am very motivated to get a Master's degree in the US is that I want to follow the best programme I can possibly follow and it seems these programmes (top 5) are all in the US. To be clear, I know that it is hard to get a job in the US and I have no ambition of staying there after my degree (except for a PhD if the opportunity arises).
I'll provide below what I've found so far: the pros for staying in Europe (which I'm quite familiar with) and the cons for picking the US (the ones I know of); these may be wrong, and I'm very interested in hearing about other perspectives.
Staying in Europe:
- Excellent Master's programmes (top 20), but not the best worldwide
- Quasi-free education (about 2000 euros tops per year in most countries except the UK)
- Almost no immigration procedures (I'm an EU national)
- Easy to get a good-paying and interesting student job (teaching assistant, engineer at a startup, freelance coder, etc)
Studying in the US:
- Extremely expensive programmes (from what I gather upwards of $50k a year)
- Harsh immigration procedures (even for students or qualified personnel)
- Hard to get a student job, and they are menial and poorly remunerated
TL;DR: Is the massive cost of a US Master's programme in CS worth switching from one of the best programmes in the EU to an even better one in the US?