I am student of an Asian Country who will apply to European Universities (mainly France, Germany, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark) for session 2022 for PhD in mathematics. So, I thought about writing to professors (email) asking about an open positions and if they are willing to work with me.

I have heard that in these countries there are holidays from December 22 to January first week.

So, should I write to professors(email) during this time and expect that they will reply to me or it is not a good idea to write to them during this time.


1 Answer 1


You could try, but I wouldn’t expect a response. Look at the main site of their university to find the actual holiday schedule, and don’t email them before they’ve actually returned to work.

Also, I’d say to hold your fire until you’ve checked their department webpage and their lab webpage for open student positions. I’m not going to respond to a cold email from anyone about a position if it’s clear they haven’t checked our site. And then if they have something open, you should apply to it rather than emailing the lead professor. They have some sort of application system to avoid cold emails.

  • "You could try, but I wouldn’t expect a response". Why so?
    – user135061
    Oct 28, 2021 at 5:11
  • 1
    @YannicMuller because they're on holidays, duh. I mean, you might get a response mid-January or so (at least that's when I'm usually getting response to my letters sent during these holidays to professors we collaborate with).
    – Lodinn
    Oct 28, 2021 at 8:47
  • @YannicMuller, maybe I should have said “during” or “close” to the holidays. My main point was to encourage the use of the HR systems likely in place. At most places these days, even a very high-ranking prof that wants to hire a particular person is going to have to put them through the HR system, anyway, even if they’ve pre-agreed to the hiring.
    – Bill Barth
    Oct 28, 2021 at 13:06

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