Context: My wife and I are both PhD candidates in good-but-not-major eastern European universities, aiming to defend our theses in fall 2017 (i.e., in 15 months). She works in accounting, whereas my research focuses on engineering science. She has been accepted in an east-coast US university for an exchange semester as of January 2017.
Since for obvious personal reasons I do not want to stay one ocean away from her during 6 months, I'd like to visit US-universities at the same time (+/- 2 months).
Questions: Exchange semesters are not common in my lab. So I lack perspective on how and why to go to the US. So here are my questions:
- What is the purpose of visiting another university at the end of your PhD? What would be expected of me if I do go there?
- Must such exchange be formally validated/accepted, or is a casual agreement with the lab PI ok?
(N.B.: I am financially independent)
- Can I directly contact "the one" Professor (of international and cross-fields renown) my research and saying that I'd like to collaborate, or is it mandatory to be recommended? Are there tacit how-tos?
- Should I mention my wife's situation?
Note that I would have wanted such an exchange, even if my wife would not have been accepted for this exchange. However, her situation imposes the period.
My scientific supervisors do not have contacts in the US.