Teach the Earth > Early Career > International Faculty > Other Challenges

Other Challenges

Topographic/bathymetric map of the Earth
Topographic/bathymetric map of the world. Image from the National Geophysical Data Center (public domain).

Additional challenges you may face include getting a social security number and adjusting to the US academic culture. Here are some tips that may help.

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Getting a Social Security Number (SSN)

Adjusting to a culture of self-promotion

  • Many universities have workshops for early career faculty to promote grant writing skills. Take advantage of these.
  • Have a trusted colleague who has a successful record of getting grants read over your grant proposals before you send them out. Be sure to give him or her a few weeks lead time, and ask politely whether he or she is willing to do you this favor.
  • Take your cues from your successful colleagues; do what they do.

Finding out what is expected of you and what resources are available

  • Find a senior mentor in your own, or a related, field to help. Even if your advisor is not in the U.S., they may have good contacts. If not, try MentorNet, (more info) an online mentoring network for graduate students and faculty in engineering, science and mathematics. Graduate students and untenured faculty members are eligible for one-on-one email-based mentoring by tenured faculty.
  • Go to conferences and workshops; see what others are doing, particularly in situations like yours.
  • Volunteer when you will have the opportunity to meet and work with senior colleagues—and learn from them.

Finding out about available technical support

  • Your department chair can tell you what services are available; this probably varies from what you are used to, so it pays to be proactive and ASK.

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