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Re: OT: After-college plans: world travel

From:Thomas Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Thursday, July 14, 2005, 21:13
Hi Sai,

Speaking as one who is currently in graduate school and has
had time to think about what I did right and wrong in applying,
I think your general idea is a good one.  A lot of gradschools
like someone who is a little more seasoned and worldly,
because they usually have a better perspective on what they
want in life and also frankly because they're more tolerable
that way :)  I regret not having done more of that before I
came to the frigid wastes of Chicago.

What you do in your gap-year(s) depends ultimately on what you
want to do in gradschool.  I know there are a number of countries
that will actually fund your time abroad.  The German federal
government has Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD)
scholarships for both undergrads like yourself and gradstudents
(also people between as you will be), which are highly valued
in US programs, about as much as Rhodes Scholarships for the UK
but easier to get. Other countries in Europe have similar
programs. These will give you plenty of time to travel and
bum around.  I've been doing that myself; I've been to Europe
twice in the last year technically on academically related

If you want to go into linguistics, it's a really good idea to the
LSA summer institute, since you'll get to meet a lot of the people
potentially reading your gradschool applications.  (It's biennial,
and it's going on right now here in Boston, so you'll have to wait
til the summer after next if you can wait that long.)  I would also
consider coming up with something to present at one of the conferences
restricted to pre-gradstudents (in BA, post BA).  There's one
annually, I think, at Harvard, and another in Oxford IIRC.  Again,
these are places to meet the people who'll be reading your

Anyways, I don't know if all that applies to you, but there are
surely others on the list who are considering a career in

Thomas Wier	       "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics    because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago   half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street     Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637