Some people think of summer as a time for rest and relaxation; I’m the type of person that has to have something (academically) to do during the summer. As an undergraduate, I had the luxury of taking 2-4 summer courses. Now that I’m a graduate student, I don’t have that luxury anymore. However, there are some opportunities for graduate students that take place during the summer. Last year around this time, I found out about the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (EAPSI) program that was offered through the NSF. It gives graduate students in the STEM fields an opportunity to do research for 8 weeks overseas (10 weeks if you do research in Japan) in one of seven countries: Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, or New Zealand. Although applications aren’t due until November of every year, it is usually a very good idea to get a jump start on the application process a few months early. I plan to apply for this summer program and I plan to be making contact with either Kyoto University or the University of Auckland in the next month or two. Here’s the EAPSI program synopsis from the NSF:
The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) provide U.S. graduate students in science and engineering: 1) first-hand research experiences in Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore or Taiwan; 2) an introduction to the science, science policy, and scientific infrastructure of the respective location; and 3) an orientation to the society, culture and language. The primary goals of EAPSI are to introduce students to East Asia and Pacific science and engineering in the context of a research setting, and to help students initiate scientific relationships that will better enable future collaboration with foreign counterparts. All institutes, except Japan, last approximately eight weeks from June to August. Japan lasts approximately ten weeks from June to August (specific dates are available and updated at www.nsfsi.org).
(Please note that the link above doesn’t take you to the EAPSI home page — some other random site has taken over the link somehow.)
If your proposal is accepted, you’ll get a nice stipend (around $5,000 if I recall correctly), additional support from the host university to cover living expenses while you’re visiting the country (this may depend on the host university — I’d look into this further, but the EAPSI website isn’t working properly), airfare to and from the host university is covered, and airfare to and from Washington, D.C for a meeting prior to the start of the summer program is also covered. To me, this is a win-win. If you’ve participated in this program before, you’re allowed to apply again but priority is given to first time applicants.