Preparing to come to Paris …
After I was accepted at LGE, it was then necessary to determine how I would afford my trip to and stay in Paris. I mean, of course: financial support.
Normally, in the origin country, and in the host one, there are governmental agencies to foster researchers’ exchange. If one is looking for a post-doc position and has no preference concerning where they work, research groups often make room in projects that have specific funds to support post-doc activities. It is just necessary to look this up on the laboratories’ websites. A good alternative is to find available positions at www.postdocjobs.com. This recruiting channel brings together recent PhDs, professors, research institutions and other employers to find a good match in different fields.
In my case, as I already knew the place I wanted to go to, and considering that LGE was not offering specific grants for post-doc researchers, my only alternative was governmental support. However, the Brazilian agencies only give this type of financial aid if the applicant is willing to sign a contract committing himself to going back to Brazil immediately after he finishes his research. This ensures he will stay there for at least the same period he spent abroad; and it would not really work for me. I believe that during a post-doc abroad, one can come across excellent opportunities, and the strings attached to a Brazilian grant seemed problematic to me.
My only way then, was to finance myself. I had saved money since I finished my PhD; I had a car that I could sell; and some other sources for some extra money. I did some studies on the cost of living in Paris and estimated all my expenses: flight tickets, visa, health assurance, transport, house rental, food, taxes for money transfer from Brazil to France, etc. Conclusion: I could stay in France for one year. In this way, I could make a post-doc and, at the same time, remain open to staying in France or going wherever an interesting opportunity for research appeared.
Of course, this raised a serious question: should I leave my good position to do that? Should I give up my stable situation (and spend all money I have saved) to do a post-doc abroad? Would this be the right choice? Despite all these initial concerns, I have always seen this experience as a professional and personal investment, and I have to say that, so far, it has been worthwhile. Besides, I believe that environmental analytical chemistry is a promising field which will grow a lot in the coming years. So, I have no reasons not to expect the best … However, just in case I am wrong, I have prepared at least plans B, C and D, for my career back in Brazil … Better safe than sorry!!!
Since I would not apply for sponsorship, Dr. Oturan and I agreed that it would not be necessary to write a project beforehand. So, I had just to arrange the travel, get my visa, buy the flight tickets, resign from my job and then it was show time …