The role of a PhD Supervisor is extremely substantial for a streamlined process of thesis writing as well as achieving ultimate success by drafting a well written, well researched and good quality thesis. This makes it a prerequisite for any PhD aspirant to maintain harmonious relations with their supervisors.
However, various issues arise when we consider International PhD Supervisors in specific:
- Language Barriers: A prerequisite in maintaining any kind of relations is the act of communication. However, due to a difference in the first language spoken by both the student and the supervisor, effective communication itself becomes difficult to achieve. This gap between the two might lead to a gradual decline in the interaction between them which raises serious concerns.
- Difference in delegation of authority: In every culture and nationality the role of a PhD supervisor varies. While in India his role is more pronounced and authoritative, in countries such as Australia which have a more Westernised culture, the role of a supervisor is restricted to that of a guide. Decision making in this case lies completely in the purview of the student himself. This contrast might lead to a confusing state of affairs where the student expects the supervisor to make decisions and the supervisor does not wish to be relied upon so much.
- Difference in writing styles: The activity of Thesis writing has different dimensions in every nationality. The writing styles, structure of the thesis, formatting style, methods and techniques deployed are all varied. Since all these aspects are essential to any thesis, disagreements regarding them are bound to result into a conflicting circumstance.
- Psychological Gap: Due to the striking difference in the nationality of a PhD candidate and his supervisor, a psychological gap between the two may prevail, where they both do not wish to communicate to avoid any misinterpretations and disagreements.
- Take the difference in your stride: Make this your competitive advantage over other PhD aspirants. The fact that your supervisor belongs to a different country altogether, implies that he also brings with him a vast body of knowledge specific to his field and country that is unexplored as yet. Talk about the practice of thesis writing adopted in his native country. This would also help in reducing any potential or prevalent psychological gap between the two of you.
- Communicate: The more you communicate with your supervisor, the lesser differences you will realise. This will help you in being frank and open with him, which will ultimately lead to a much more pleasant thesis writing experience. You also need to realise that certain conflicts are bound to arise with your supervisor, irrespective of his and your nationality. Take these supportively and achieve conclusive success.