Go Abroad

Hear From a Peer Who Has Studied Abroad

What is it really like to study abroad? Get the flavor of international study by talking to MIT students who have done it recently.  Reach out to Peer Mentors who would be happy to share their experiences and give you insights on how to prepare and what to expect while abroad.   

Peer Mentors

 

Derek Chang

Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany, Fall 2012
Course 1
Studying abroad was a transformative experience for me. Although I study Civil and Environmental Engineering, I studied humanities and social sciences during my semester abroad in Berlin, which gave me more broadened insight on my studies and learning. My experience also gave me a more long-term perspective that allows me to approach life more independently. I also got the chance to travel to seven other countries during my time, and learned a great deal about German and Central European society. I believe anyone who wants to broaden the way they view life should consider studying abroad.

 

Priyanka Chatterjee

London School of Economics (LSE), Summer 2013
Course 2-OE
Studying at the London School of Economics this past summer was definitely one of the most fun and eye-opening experiences of my MIT career. Due to my relatively unique major of ocean engineering, it was not possible for me to take an entire year or even a semester abroad, unfortunately. Nevertheless, studying at LSE over the summer through its internationally recognized Summer School Program was completely worth it. I experienced education in a new country, learned under one of the most well renowned economists in the field, and made friends from all over the world. While taking an Environmental Economics class there, (one that I did not have time to take while here at MIT), I even gained more clarity on my academic interests and potential career paths. The experience taught me that studying abroad comes in multiple flavors, and regardless of which one you choose, you will get out of your comfort zone and learn more than you could have ever imagined.

 

Dominic Dawkins

MIT-Madrid, Spring 2013
Course 15

Spain has been my home away for some time. I first traveled to Spain my sophomore year in high school, and I instantly developed a strong connection. When I got into MIT, I heard about the MIT-Madrid program and knew that was something I had to do. Aside from being an amazing opportunity to improve my fluency in Spanish, I got a first-hand experience of Spanish culture. I learned about Spanish history and traditions from my host mom, and hung out with Spanish and International friends. I was also able to intern at a healthcare facility where I gained experience that would've been difficult for me to get in the US. MIT-Madrid gave me insight not only into Spanish culture and life but also into myself and what I wanted to pursue in life. Now I can't wait to share my experience and encourage others to participate in MIT-Madrid.

 

Robin He

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (CME), Academic Year 2012-2013
Course 18
This past year was one of the most exciting ones of my life. Because of the full immersion of the program, I took this opportunity to adapt to a new culture, meet friends of vastly different backgrounds, and study in a mostly independent academic environment purely concentrated in math. From matriculation to formal halls to travels around Europe, I gained so many new experiences. I also learned more about myself, especially the feeling that I should be able to handle any challenges that come my way. MIT already provides an incredible community, but expanding my comfort zone across the pond and overcoming this type of unfamiliarity have added that much more value to my overall college experience.

 

Ben Hessels

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (CME), Academic Year 2012-2013
Course 2
Studying abroad for the year at Cambridge was the most memorable experience of my life. Before participating in CME I did not even have a passport. The opportunity to meet so many new people and entirely immerse myself in the culture, while still receiving a world-class education, was truly special. I was also able to play on the lacrosse team at Cambridge, earning my Half-Blue in the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity match- an experience I will never forget. I had a ton of fun traveling to nearly 20 cities around Europe, however, the weekend trips to the homes of some of my British friends and meeting their families was just as enjoyable, providing me a sort of home-away-from-home and teaching me a lot about their culture. I definitely recommend that everyone study abroad if given the opportunity.

 

Jennifer Hsu

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Fall 2012
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Spring 2013

Course 10-B
Last year, I studied abroad at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland). I took really interesting classes on, for example, the modernization of Asia, the energy systems of Switzerland, and food biotechnology, but so much more learning went on outside of the classroom from my day-to-day challenges integrating into the culture and from exploring the spaces around me. As I made my way through 14 countries, I picked up both passport stamps and insights into the local history, politics, and cuisine. Although being away from MIT for a year was difficult, my new perspective of the world, my personal growth, and the many new international friends I have made more than make up for it. You can also read more about my adventures on: http://halfwayaroundtheworld.studentsgoneglobal.com/.

 

Bridget Hunter-Jones

Oxford University, Spring 2013
Course 2-A

I grew up just outside Boston and although I've travelled around a lot with my family I had never had an experience away from home where I was truly independent. This is one of the driving factors that lead me to study abroad for a semester in the UK at Oxford University. It was an incredible experience being immersed in a new culture and having to adapt to new experiences every day. The education system is vastly different from MIT and working one on one with a mechanical engineering fellow on a project was something I wouldn't have experienced at MIT. I got to travel around Europe and made amazing connections with people. I lived with my Oxford roommate over the summer in Boston and several other Oxford friends have come to visit me at MIT. My time abroad made me a more diverse and independent person and I will always remember this incredible experience. 

 

Nyasha Madziva

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (CME), Academic Year 2012-2013
Course 10
Studying abroad has become a way of life since I left for college at MIT from high school in Zimbabwe. Taking the valuable international experience I had lived in my freshman and sophomore year, I went off to explore a totally different continent once again, like I had done 2 years previously, and I loved it! It was at a point where I thought I had just gotten fully accustomed to American culture, and then I was off to a totally different part of the world where the two only things that connected MIT and the University of Cambridge were the language (although that can be debated in some parts of the UK) and the excellence in academia, particularly with a strong focus on the sciences and engineering. The two Cambridge cities could not be more different, where in the UK counterpart the university is the city, as  it forms the ancient history, the buildings and the social life of the city. The college literally is your home, and where most of your friends and family live. From the social formal dinners to college marriages, the college culture forms your experience, and I chose to take advantage of that as much as I could. I also got to visit about 16 different cities in the UK. I did yet another short exchange program in Paris for a week and I visited 4 other countries in Europe during the summer whilst I did MISTI France. It truly was a study abroad student's dream!

 

Jordan Marks

Oxford-MIT Exchange, Spring 2013
Course 3

My decision to study abroad in Oxford in Spring 2013 is easily one of the best experiences I have had during my MIT career. I learned about my identity in all possible senses: as an American, an MIT student, a materials scientist, and as an individual within this world. I gained perspective on where I fit in, and the role I can have as a global citizen. On a personal level, I realized how much I can challenge myself to be independent and to fully immerse myself in something unknown, and how much I can learn through this terrifying and thrilling process. Thanks to the incredible people with whom I laughed, shared stories, and learned, I have a changed perspective, and I see the experience continuing to color every day of my life since. I would recommend studying abroad to all, as we can learn so much about ourselves and the world in which we live through incredible opportunities such as these.

 

Elise Myers

MIT-Madrid, Spring 2012
Course 12

Before coming to MIT, I never had the resources to be able to travel abroad.  Once I arrived here, I knew I would try to find all the possible opportunities to explore new cultures and learn about my field (environmental geoscience) from different perspectives.  I decided to study abroad my sophomore year because I wanted to learn more about Spanish culture, become more of a global citizen, challenge myself to adapt to living in a new environment, and gain experiences that I could never quite get in Boston.  Studying and working in Spain was the first time when I was able to learn a lot and work hard, but also love my life. Studying in Spain also gave me the attitude of putting my happiness and health above my school work (which at MIT means putting happiness above stress).  While there, I was able to take courses that are not offered at MIT and I was able to get close to my amazing professors who made sure I got the most out of my experience, by partnering me with a PhD student on research and inviting me on field trips for other classes.  After living in Spain for a semester, I gained lifelong friends and mentors in Spain who I will never forget and who I cannot wait to see again soon.  There are so many lessons I’ve learned about the world and myself from Study Abroad; it truly is the opportunity of a lifetime!

 

Alex Romero Gomez

USAC- Luneburg, Germany, Summer 2013
Course 2-A

I am a citizen of the world. Even though I was born and raised in Mexico, I've had the opportunity to travel to different places since I was little. Every new travel represents so much more than just a place. It is an opportunity to exit my comfort zone, try new food, meet people from different and unimaginable backgrounds, immerse myself in a culture with a lot to teach. After every time, my comfort zone becomes a little bigger. MIT helped me continue my passion. Studying abroad for a summer in Germany, was an eye-opening experience. It wasn't just a way to learn German, it also had a great impact in my  personal and professional development. Now I feel more confident to adapt to changes, face new challenges and specially, pursue my goal of working in Europe. I now follow the philosophy of my host university: "Live without regrets, learn without borders."

 

Saul Wilson

CET Beijing, China- Summer 2012
New Century, Tianjin, China- IAP 2013
CET Kunming, China-Summer 2013

Course 18

I've spent the past two summers and last IAP studying Chinese in Beijing, Tianjin, and Kunming out of the hope that immersion would provide both motivation and a more congenial environment in which to attempt learning a new language.  The daily interaction with locals--and the fact that my questions about what I was seeing could only be asked and answered if I made significant headway with the language--made a huge difference.  Moreover, simply being in China provided a great deal of insight into the country.  It definitely has not made me an expert on the language or the society, but seeing in person a place I'd read about in the news and studied in class opened my eyes to the biases of those environments and the aspects of China that seem almost to be taken for granted by people who know the place well.  Thus, beyond the language benefits of studying Chinese where it's spoken, the modicum of cultural understanding I gained has been extremely valuable.

 

Angela Zhu

University College London, Spring 2013

Course 20

I can't remember when there was a time when I didn't dream of studying in England. Even though my department doesn't specifically participate in any MIT exchange programs, I didn't let that keep me from pursuing study abroad. I applied to UCL directly my junior fall and went my junior spring as an affiliate (non-degree) student. In just 6 months I made a lot of friends that are really different from my friends at MIT (which helped me develop another side of my personality), found new hobbies (I never imagined myself playing rugby before), and cultivated a cultural worldliness and sensitivity in the amazing city that is London. Being able to thrive in a completely different environment and school system built up my confidence, and most importantly I got to focus on one of the things love most- travelling and meeting people from all over the world and from all walks of life!

Become a Peer Mentor!

If you studied abroad while at MIT and would like to help other students do the same, review the peer mentor application and drop it off to E39-305 or send it in by email. Please contact Global Education with any questions.