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I am currently a master's student in computer science, doing research with one of my professors. They are a good mentor, and pay well. However, our research interests aren't quite aligned - they're related but I'm ultimately a little unsatisfied, and would like to pursue a PhD elsewhere. I also want to travel and potentially even move to Europe, so I plan on applying to PhD programs there.

So, I am thinking about applying for summer research internships at European universities. I think (and I need an unbiased second opinion on this) that a summer research internship could help me find a lab that I want to join for my PhD, as well as gain a second reference for future applications. Is this a good idea, given that I could otherwise spend the summer doing (funded) research with my existing professor?

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    I think the duration matters here. Having the second LOR might not be as beneficial if the length is only for say 3 months. 3 months also generally isn't enough time for research so if you can spend 3 months extra under your prof and publish your on-going work. I think that is the better option.
    – Academic
    Sep 8 '21 at 10:34
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    Not sure if it's a dup but certainly very very related, especially the answer there: academia.stackexchange.com/q/6058/4249
    – penelope
    Sep 8 '21 at 11:26
  • This will be hard to answer without knowing what the alternative is. What would you do if you did not take up the summer research internship? In other words, what is the opportunity cost here?
    – Allure
    Sep 9 '21 at 1:41
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The answer is very very simple. YES.

It is a great opportunity to enhance yourself as a scholar and a person to look at other groups, universities, experiments, theories, places, people. It is in particular great to move to different countries and learn a lot more than "just" a different supervisor. Just imagine, there are not so many profession where working bas8cally all over the world is a real and positive option. Why not make full benefit from this? If you want to stay in science, working on a global network of people you know and collaborate with is never too early.

Never think about your current supervisor as a thing to hold you back. If he is a decent man, he will 100% understand and support you. Otherwise he might be selfish or short-sighted. Even more reason to leave him behind.

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In your case, you're sure that you don't want to pursue PhD under this current guide and apply elsewhere. The summer internship will surely boost that chances. So I will say, go for it.

And as you've already mentioned there is another benefit: the 2nd reference for future applications. That will be very handy too.

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