I'm starting a PhD program in the Fall. I know this can be specific to my program, but more generally, what's your advice for an international student preparing for academic success?

I'm going to email my advisor for some advice. I'm still not very familiar with formal and professional emails in academia . So is this OK?

"Dear Dr.???, Can you give me more info on our research and how I can prepare for it?"


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    Find out what documents, visas etc that you need tp prepare. Having to get a translated and ratified birth certificate at short notice in a new country can be expensive and challenging , while it is trivial at hime. – Solar Mike Jun 22 '20 at 4:53
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    As you have already stated, your advisor is the best person to contact regarding this. Next would be the students who are already in that group. Going through the research work/ongoing projects of your group is a good beginning, based on that you can prepare accordingly. – Jihadi Jun 22 '20 at 5:44
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    Take time off and relax, so you are well rested when you start. If you are going to a non-English speaking country, maybe take a language class. – Roland Jun 22 '20 at 6:46
  • I think this question is too vague for us to give helpful answers. Which country are you going to? What visas do you need? What is the field of study? Are you looking for help on practical matters like university administration and funding, or do you want to know what papers or books to read? Have you already discussed a possible research project or area of interest? Are you already at the university? (In which case it might be better to ask for a 30 minute meeting). Will you be rotating amongst supervisors, or will you have this one for the entire course? – D Greenwood Jun 22 '20 at 7:35

You can reasonably guess that your research when you join the group will be closely related to the research the group has published in the past 1-5 years. Therefore, the biggest leg-up you can get is to go through their recent publications (ask for them from the professor if you don't have access to the journals from home or your current school's network) and try to understand what was done, why it was done, and what tools were used?

Reading one or two review articles in the area would also be useful.

  • Also, you could read a textbook about the subject of your PhD or the techniques you are going to use. There probably is lots of new stuff you can still learn. – Louic Jun 22 '20 at 7:43

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