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I'm an international graduate student in my first year as a PhD candidate. I'm looking to transfer schools for two reasons-

  1. I had a hard time here with my health in jeopardy, so I'm looking to move to a school which is close to my extended family.

  2. My research interests seem to be more aligned with a different school, which I had not considered when initially applying abroad.

I have a good research background in my field, and a four year bachelor's degree from a highly accredited institution in my home country. While I've taken all the first year courses necessary at my current school, I'm just finishing up and I haven't chosen a permanent advisor yet because I'd like to consider transferring.

Is this possible? If yes, could you guide me on how this process works? Thank you in advance.

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Transferring schools is best done as soon as possible. Your first year credits may transfer seamlessly with another university, but the farther along you get the less likely the transfer will be successful. I would find someone at the university who has experience working with international students (there might even be an entire department dedicated to such) and ask specific questions of them (eg how to apply to another program, how to transfer in good standing etc). Then be in contact with the university that you wish to transfer to and make sure that you meet all of their requirements and apply for transfer prior to dropping out or officially leaving the program that you are in. You do not want to mess with your student visa etc, so make sure everything has transitioned successfully prior to withdrawing from your current location. Moving near family is a good idea, but also make sure that if you are really moving for health reasons that your health will be taken care of there. Make sure that the student health insurance will cover everything that you need for it to cover and that you can access specialists etc in the area that you are wanting to move to. Good luck!

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