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The number of foreign-born postdoctoral fellows in academic institutions in the United States has exceeded the number of 'homegrown' postdocs since 1997, and the gap is widening.

In this article, Mignon Fogarty reports on the experiences of Asian researchers who have chosen to leave their home countries. Bicultural experiences make many researchers particularly valuable to both Western companies and those in their own countries that are eager for collaboration, he says.

But there are problems too. For example, a lack of understanding of differences in body language and gender rules between Asian and Western countries can cause confusion and embarrassment. Also, if and when scientists return, they may face resentment from their colleagues that have remained at home.

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