mindreader wrote:I'm just curious, how do Americans feel about foreign PhD students? Do they sort of feel like opportunities to study at good schools in their own country should have Americans as priority?
I happen to study in a country where the locals don't seem pleased with the fact that foreign students "steal" spots in graduate programs in local institutions from them.
My personal opinion may differ from others, but here it is anyway.
First, you have to realize that public schools can fund American students much more easily, so as someone else said there's already some barrier to entry there. You have to be a pretty exceptional applicant compared to the domestic counterparts to get into good public programs here, so to me that's usually enough to say you deserve the position (as you've got to be more qualified than the majority of the domestic applicants).
I think it depends on what you want to do with your degree too though. If this is an avenue for you to possibly obtain US citizenship and give back to the country that provided you with this graduate education, then that's great. But if you're planning on leaving as soon as you get your degree, that seems a little, rude? I'm not sure what word would be best here.
Finally, depending on where you are from in America, it's sometimes hard to have any experience with people from other cultures, or who speak a language other than English. In that sense, I think it's nice to have a little bit of variety in the department, as long as these students are willing to mingle with the "locals".