Topic: University jobs in Europe

I figure it can't hurt to ask this.  My niece is graduating Swarthmore this year with a major in biology and a minor in education.  She's decided that she'd like to try teaching biology in a different country, and asked me if I knew anyone with contacts at European (or British or Australian) universities.  (I already asked Dark_Prince though, and he said no.)  :-(
I believe she only speaks English, which probably limits her choices.  At any rate, it seems worth a shot to ask if anyone knows anyone.


Yeah, I realize this is close to spam, but this is my niece and I will always remember here as a tiny newborn baby, so, hopefully the folks on this forum will excuse it.  (She was the first of my nieces and nephews.

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: University jobs in Europe

sorry, I'm just another Yankee smile.

will she be able to go right into teaching with her degree? is it a bachelor's? or is she planning on doing more schooling in another country? just curious, since I'm getting a bachelor's with a minor in education right now.

Re: University jobs in Europe

scottro wrote:

My niece is graduating Swarthmore this year with a major in biology and a minor in education.  She's decided that she'd like to try teaching biology in a different country, and asked me if I knew anyone with contacts at European (or British or Australian) universities.

If she only has a bachelor's degree, it may be impossible to get a teaching position in a higher-education institution either here in the US or elsewhere unless she would be satisfied with a lab assistant type position (which I doubt...).  I suspect the pay for these positions is too low to warrant moving any significant distance either.

What she might want to investigate is a teaching position at an embassy obviously to teach diplomats' children.  Maybe she would be interested in teaching younger children, maybe not;  your post isn't entirely clear on this point.  As for who to contact, I would try the US State Department first.  You can probably find a phone number in the phone book or poke about their Website:

http://www.state.gov/

I suspect this is the first place to inquire, but if she is wanting a position this next fall, she needs to be inquirying now.  There are not a lot of these types of positions, & who knows what the vetting process entails.  I suspect looking into this now may be close to being too late, but you/she will not know unless you/she tries.

Re: University jobs in Europe

Thanks to both of you for the quick responses.  Ocicat, I believe she wants to teach at a higher level--I believe (though am not sure, as it was a crowded Thanksgiving gathering, we didn't go into that much detail) she doesn't want to teach small children, she wishes to teach biology, so I assume we're talking about high school at a minimum.

Asem, I don't know, I'll find out.  IIRC, back in the 70's at least, you could teach with just a BA, though you might have had to get a teaching certificate as well--but I think that those who planned to be teachers did that along the way.  With my niece, this thinking she might want to teach seems to have been a relatively recent decision. 

I'll post again with more info, probably next week.  (She's only home for a short time, and of course, her friends are taking more of her time than her aged uncle.)

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: University jobs in Europe

another thing to consider is that different states in the US even have different requirements for teachers smile.

Re: University jobs in Europe

How about doing a PhD then at an European university? She'll probably need to do a PhD anyway if she's in biology, she'll get to teach, and her only speaking english is no problem at all. At least that's how it works at the ETH Zurich: only speaking english is fine, and PhD students have a contract which gives them a 50% part-time job working for the ETH

Re: University jobs in Europe

That might turn out to be her plan.  Her hope, I believe, is to work and have them offer to help with her graduate work.   (Of course, as I said, I'm not sure what the real plan is, I will have to talk to her in more detail.)

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: University jobs in Europe

I'll follow on with Maxlor and others.  She will be able to teach high school, but at no higher level with a BA or BS.  While community colleges in the US technically will accept bachelor's degrees, in practice there are so many underemployed biologists floating about that you need a Ph.D to teach even at that level.

Other countries than Switzerland teach in English -- Austria is another example.  This is caused by English becoming the de facto standard science language, and many schools want their students to have good English facility.  So they teach in English.  I doubt the Germans or French do that, though.  There was an article in "Science" a while ago that discussed this -- I'll see if I can find it.

If she wants to get a Ph.D., teaching is part of the program.  I had to do three semesters (though in the US) as did everyone else.  Further, if she is accepted into a program, she will be supported financially. 

So you have to clarify what she wants.  If your previous post is right, you have it backwards.  She won't teach to underwrite her graduate studies -- she will teach as part of the degree program.  There are exceptions: England, for example, tends to have shorter and more focused Ph.D. programs that involve little teaching or coursework.  I would be very surprised if the more traditional Germanic ones follow that sort of model.  I don't know about the French, but I have a grad school buddy who teaches at the main French technical university if you are really interested.

Re: University jobs in Europe

We've emailed a bit since my last post.  Apparently (asem, take note) at this point, she has the BA (or will) which will enable her, in the US, to teach at a private school, but not a university.   She plans to go for a masters in education apparently, which leaves me a bit unclear about whether bio or teaching is the main interest. 

She has no French, so don't bother with that one.  I will have to sit down and have a phone conversation with her, hopefully this weekend.  Obviously, when she said bio, you were the first one I thought of, but apparently, she's gotten a bit cold on research, and has found she really likes teaching.

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

10

Re: University jobs in Europe

scottro wrote:

.. apparently, she's gotten a bit cold on research, and has found she really likes teaching.

If she has only a BA she has no idea what research is.  She just does not know enough yet. 

Personally, I'd encourage her to get a Ph.D. -- even if she choses not to do research, it opens a range of teaching possibilities.  She can still do high school, but also community colleges and four-year schools where little (if any) research is expected, and even larger ones like the California State University system (again, not much research).  She might also like research more than she thinks.

With a BA she can only do junior high or high school.  It really is limiting.  Of course if that is what she wants to do, well, more power to her.

Re: University jobs in Europe

Heh, you PhD you.  She'll probably wind up consulting with her other uncle, who actually knows something about all this--it's just that I'm nicer.  smile 

I don't know all the details.  I know that she doesn't want to teach below college level, but I don't think she's certain about her career path yet.  Her idea, (which might or might not be feasible) would be to teach for awihle to see if she likes it and decide from there which direction to go.  Perhaps we should take this off list, as I'm guessing, in many ways, what her plans are, and don't want to speak for her when I don't really know. 
Did I mention that her school is Swarthmore?  That should certainly count for something.

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

12

Re: University jobs in Europe

Off-list is fine.  But there is no way that she can teach at a college level with a BA.  Even the lecturers have PhDs.  For those not in academia, lecturers rank far below professors, do not get tenure, carry the heaviest teaching load imaginable, and get paid squat.

Re: University jobs in Europe

DrJ wrote:

With a BA she can only do junior high or high school.  It really is limiting.  Of course if that is what she wants to do, well, more power to her.

Not to be grim, but DrJ is right.  A BS/BA degree only puts her into play at the public (possibly private, too...) school level, but nothing above twelfth grade.  scottro, you might need to be ready to support her looking into other directions because if she is graduating within the next 4-5 months, she needs to be securing fall employment now.

The fact that you mention she is getting a minor in education means that she has thought about teaching at the public school level since there is no point to bother with education coursework if the intention is to teach at the collegiate level.  My guess is that she went the minor route in order to have a safety net, but she may have either come to the realization that she didn't like public school teaching, or her interest in the biological sciences has grown -- possibly both.

Sorry to be stark, but I have been down this road before.  Public school teaching in the US can possess a greater deal of satisfaction from a social responsibility/stewardship viewpoint, but the political nightmares are a reality & the pay barely puts anything on the table.

Re: University jobs in Europe

Y'know, she's been in academia for the last few years, and I'm sure she's consulted with her favorite professors.  Therefore, I suspect that either she's got the boundless optimism of youth, which seems unlikely since, even allowing for my prejudices, she's pretty brilliant, or I've missed something in the frenzied snatches of conversation during a family gathering.  Therefore, I better wait till I speak to her again to see what she actually plans.  I do suspect that she would know these things that you and Drj are telling me, which makes me almost positive I missed something.

Have I said thank you to each and every one of you who've responded. If not, a heartfelt thank you.

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: University jobs in Europe

scottro wrote:

I do suspect that she would know these things that you and Drj are telling me, which makes me almost positive I missed something.

Don't beat yourself up, her, or anything being said here, as there shouldn't be any judgment.  I suspect she is young & doesn't quite know what she wants.  Most kids in their early twenties don't.  Despite what they want to admit, they don't have a lot of life experience to reflect upon.

Not to either prejudge or change subjects, but I don't believe schools (either public education or higher education) do very effective jobs with preparing or educating students about what to do after graduation.  For some, continuing academic studies makes sense & it might be an easy decision, but switching to the real world employment market often brings to the front realities that schools & universities don't discuss.  I bring this up such that you can be effectively sympathetic to what she faces -- not that you aren't understanding, but fathoming what confronts a twenty-something can be exasperating & it might be some off-hand comment you make to her which may make a world of difference.  Understanding the terrain helps.

Re: University jobs in Europe

Ok, I was totally off.  smile  She is looking for something at elementary, middle school or high school level. 

As I said last night, I figured I had misunderstood when you and Dr. J said that what she was seeking (or what I thought she was seeking) was highly improbable.

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: University jobs in Europe

Well, ok, I guess then that I should rephrase the request--does anyone have contacts with a private school, from elementary through High School?  (She also realizes that below Jr. High School level--maybe it's middle school now, it's changed from 30 years ago) that she wouldn't be teaching biology, she'd simply be teaching.  I seem to have completely misunderstood her.  Sigh.

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: University jobs in Europe

Scott, you scared me! I almost thought this forum had fallen victim to ev!l sp@mmers O.o

Trust me, I know what I'm doing.

Re: University jobs in Europe

I should have done what ephemera does on forums and marked it not spam.   I didn't bother because this is a relatively small circle and we all know each other.

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: University jobs in Europe

Because spammers haven't had the idea of marking their spam as not spam yet? smile

Re: University jobs in Europe

scottro wrote:

...does anyone have contacts with a private school, from elementary through High School?

I would think that contacting the US State Department and/or embassies of countries she is interested in would prove the most fruitful (if at any of these avenues has a chance...).  Most countries will have criteria to be met.

If I were an administrator, & I received a cold resume from someone in another country, it will not be taken very seriously for two reasons:

0.  It would put a burden on me to enter into a correspondence with the applicant to educate them on what protocol is to be followed.  This could take months (if not done by email...), & is not likely to be a productive use of time irregardless of good will & best intentions.
1.  It also shows that the applicant is naive to the rules, regulations, etc.

I would think that receipt of such a request would either get a form letter response at best or be quietly thrown away at worse.

So contacting the various government entities tasked with dealing with inter-country bridging (US State Department & embassies...) is a better route.

Likewise, Swarthmore surely has dealt with this before.  Contact both their career placement office & alumni association.

Re: University jobs in Europe

@scrotto,

In Germany it is possible to teach (to some extent) as assistant with a master degree, magister (something similar to master) or diplom (similar to master, technical faculty). Without a PhD it's at least in Germany almost impossible to get a job out in the wild, even a master (or diplom) isn't enough (anymore). But a PhD, believe me ;-), is just a better foundation, but no guarantee at all. But it's nice too hear people call you 'Doktor' ;-). She should acquire at least a master degree. Just English as language isn't a problem anymore at technical faculties in Germany.

F!XMBR

Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it. --Pericles

Re: University jobs in Europe

Now, Oliver, do you have any contacts at elementary private schools that might be interested?  smile

As I wrote above, I had misunderstood what she wanted. (I *told* you guys she probably had a better idea of circumstances than I did.)

So, that's the thing--unfortunately, the level for which she might be considered would probably require German.

<@andre> i would be so much more efficient if i wasn't so stupid

Re: University jobs in Europe

Do you mean pre-highschool with elemantary private schools? If so, then no. For schools in Germany you need the so-called 'Lehramt' (it's a governmental exam). There is some rare possiblity to change carrer and become teacher, maybe a historian who has got a PhD. The educational system in Germany is a very complex one, sometimes it's a hard for to teacher to get even a job in a different 'Bundesland' (similar to your states, but with less influence), because of a lack of certain certification.

Schools in Germany:

Kindergarten (should be obvious ;-))
Grundschule (junior highschool?)
Hauptschule (less than Realschule)
Realschule  (less than Gymnasium)
Gymnasium (comparable to a college/entry for university)
Gesamtschule (all major degrees in one school)
Gewerbeschule (like Realschule with technical focus)
Fachhochschule (similar to Gymnasium, but with focus and as entry for Fachhochschulen (some kind of university) only)

And so on. You need. as mentioned above. 'Lehramt' for all of the schools, but this degree differs too. You need for a 'Gymnasium' more than for 'Grundschule' (elemantary school/junior high?). There aren't many private schools in Germany (e.g. Waldorf school). So in fact I don't think so, for schools you need a special exam. Even with a master/diplom/magister I cannot teach at schools (there is some possiblity with some additional certification at university). And last not least at schools you need German, even as a teacher for the English Language.

F!XMBR

Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it. --Pericles