Austin, Texas hosts the annual South by Southwest Festival (SXSW), the world's largest Digital-Meet. This is where Twitter and Foursequare were born, and German delegations regularly solicit Americans there Startups, A Boy Mathematician went the opposite way, she has been living and researching in the USA for some time. How are your experiences?


40.000 scientists and skilled workers leave Germany every year

About 40.000 scientists and highly skilled workers leave Germany every year because they find better working conditions abroad. One of them is the Frenchwoman Marie-Amelie Lawn.

Marie-Amelie has always lived internationally: her father is English, she herself has participated in the University Bonn studied mathematics and physics. She then did her doctorate in mathematics in Bonn and in Nancy, France.

Why Austin?

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Finally, worked several years in various scientific positions in France, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Germany. Thus, she is familiar with various higher education systems and is well aware of the step over the large pond.

There were also personal reasons for being Austin: “The University of Texas is the largest and most prestigious university in Texas. And it also has a very good reputation, especially for mathematics. ”


University as an important economic factor of the city

The university is next to the IT– and the music industry is an important economic factor for Austin, the fastest growing city in the USA: It has over 50.000 students and a corresponding number Employees. This makes it one of the largest employers in the city.

"In the US, I have comparatively more freedom," she explains. “American colleges also have more Money than in Europe, which improves the research conditions considerably.”

The universities are better equipped than in Germany

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But not only that: "The university sports facilities or the music school are also very well equipped, much better than I know from Europe," reports the scientist.

However, the expectations of the teaching staff are very high: "The students literally demand optimal supervision because they pay up to $ 40.000 for their studies if they are not from Texas," says the scientist. "It takes a lot of time, of course , but I also want my students to really learn something! ”

How to make a leap into the USA?

To get a job as a lecturer, Marie-Amelie has applied for a regular tender and has been accepted. Much more complicated was getting an H - B1 visa for the US.

"It took four months," says Marie-Amelie: "I signed my contract last April, but the visa only in August, which was very stressful."


Visa for highly educated people

Although the visa does not offer the same flexibility as a green card, it still has many advantages: “H - B1 is a visa for the highly educated with a degree beyond the master's.

I initially got it for three years and can extend it for another three years, ”she says. Of course, the university supported them in applying for the visa. There is a shortcoming: If Marie-Amelie wants to change employers, the visa expires.

Foreign Office as a hub and point of reference

With the visa, however, she can also go to another country at any time travel, without their residence permit in the US verlieren. One disadvantage, however, is that she now always has to take an H – B1 form with her on every trip abroad and bring it back to the Foreign Office when she returns.

“This takes additional time, but it also has advantages: The Foreign Office here in Austin is very committed to supporting foreign scientists and organizes excursions, for example. I made a lot of new friends here, ”reports the young mathematician.

Austin - the most liberal city in Texas

Austin is generally considered to be the Texas city in which Europeans are still most likely to live: in conservative Texas, the city is comparatively liberal and is also adorned with the title “World Capital of Live Music”.

On a weekend there are 60 to 80 concerts in some pubs, even during the week it is still 30 to 40. And twice a year there are great music festivals like the South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits.


Cowboys and Booles games

In Austin, however, many different cultures come together: on Saturdays, Marie sometimes goes to Texas dancing in the Whitehorse, where other guests also come with the horse.

On Sundays, the French Legation Museum hosts a game of boules. And on Mondays, there are jazz sessions with country elements and musicians from Nashville and Michigan in the Elephant-Room.

Washing machine in the garden

In general, the clocks tick a little differently here than in Europe. The mood in Austin is relaxed, the weather is usually good and the washing machine is in the garden, while the houses are hardly insulated from the cold: "It can get really cold sometimes - but only for a few days," says Marie-Amelie .


All in all, Marie-Amelie finds her new life in Austin very exciting and can well imagine staying in Texas for a few years. In the long term, however, she hopes to get a job on the East Coast of America or in California.

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