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

 

Kyle Bowman

ETH Zürich, Spring 2014
Course 2A-15
Studying abroad in Switzerland was not only an eye-opening cultural experience, but one in which I got to really experience the vastness of the world. Although living in a foreign country was at first intimidating I eventually found my way with the help of a group of friends. My core group of friends were from all across the globe, spanning at least 10 different countries. After spending time with this incredibly diverse group of people I feel as though I not only know about Swiss culture, but a little about many of the cultures around the world. I want to help other people be able to enjoy their experience as much as I did by sharing this knowledge.

 

Priyanka Chatterjee

London School of Economics, 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.

 

Margo Dawes

Imperial College London, Summer 2014
Course 1 & 11
My summer UROP in London taught me how to live cost-effectively. I spent about half my time working with international metro systems through Imperial College and the other half building cheap picnic meals from Tesco Express and visiting every single free museum in the city. By happy accident, my research was significantly more industry-focused than work I had done previously and I was quickly integrated into an existing project team. I experienced a new way of interacting with supervisors and clients in sharp contrast to what I’ve been accustomed, and decided to write my thesis on a topic that came up in conversation with a co-worker outside of the office.

 

Katie Lee

University of Oxford, Spring 2014
Course 6-3

I absolutely enjoyed my semester abroad at the University of Oxford my junior spring.  A 6-3 major with a HASS concentration in International Relations, I had the opportunity to take a mix of both computer science and international relations classes.  Since Oxford and MIT have very different cultures, the different academic and social experiences were eye-opening and have especially prepared me for future experiences and challenges.  Feel free to reach out to me if you have concerns about academics, transfer credit, or just want to chat.

 

Taibo Li

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (MIT), Academic Year 2013-2014
Course 6
Among the many fun memories of Cambridge: my first 2K race on River Cam with Magdalene Boat Club, a selfie with Isaac Newton at the Master's Lodge of Trinity College, my first lecture at the Perse School teaching curious ninth graders how to use trigonometry to measure the radius of the Earth, and a extremely enriching summer research experience at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute investigating genetic variations among colon cancer patients. The CME program offered me a great opportunity to explore a fascinating culture that has more than 800 years of history, and allowed me to meet lifelong friends and become part of this living tradition. It created a whole new perspective from which I can better appreciate my MIT experience and better understand myself.

 

Sarah McMillian

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (MIT), Academic Year 2013-2014
Course 2
I value my year abroad at the University of Cambridge because I strengthened my self-efficacy and formed incredible friendships. It was inspiring to live and study on grounds with such great beauty and rich history. Emmanuel College was fantastical. Imagine eating in a dining hall nearly 400 years old with extraordinary mint-green room embellished with crown moulding. English food was not nearly as superb but the rigor of the academic studies and friendliness of the students redeemed it. Cambridge prescribed hyper-focus in a single academic area and independent learning. As I was challenged to become a master of mechanical engineering, I learned the endurance that is required to establish a large depth of knowledge. The transition from the breadth encouraged at MIT to the depth desired at Cambridge was difficult but I did not feel alone. The brilliant anthropologists, writers, medics, and fellow engineers I befriended inspired and supported me. These were friends I made through my college and the numerous societies I joined: a Tamil dance team, Engineers Without Borders, the African Caribbean Student Association and more. They helped me understand British culture and history, from values to language. Studying at Cambridge was a transformative experience that gave confidence and tools I need to affect change on a great scale.

 

Lorcan Murphy

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (Cambridge), Academic Year 2014-2015
Course 2 & 15
As a student from Cambridge University, I am spending the current academic year studying at MIT, which has so far been a fantastic experience. Both universities offer a world-class education, but in completely different manners, so being able to experience both during the course of my degree is an incredible opportunity. MIT has given me the chance to study outside of my engineering specialisation, experience American culture and participate in new activities while making new friends and exploring a different continent. I urge everyone to consider going in the opposite direction on the CME programme to broaden your outlook, try a different way of study and gain new experiences.

 

Farah Patel

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (MIT), Academic Year 2013-2014
Course 6-3
Time abroad exposes you to new perspectives, and I could not be happier that I made the decision to study abroad last year as part of the CME Program. I was able to learn so much, not only about Computer Science, which was the subject I was studying at Cambridge, but also about myself and other people. Dealing with a new style of learning and odd British customs was sometimes challenging, but the rewards are too great too measure. I made lasting friendships and pursued activities that just would not have been possible at MIT. From traveling within the country to participating in a theatre production that is part of a group that started in 1855, there were always new things to explore and great times to be had. I can't encourage you enough to really think about all the benefits a program such as this can give to you because it is a rare opportunity that I am so glad I took part in.

 

Miriam Prosnitz

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (MIT), Academic Year 2013-2014
Course 6-2
An experience abroad is more than the sum of its parts. The food, the housing, the culture, the people; all essential parts of studying abroad that make the experience worthwhile. During my time in Cambridge my studies of Electrical Engineering were beautifully complimented by strong friendships that I built. Amid the large rooms, grass you couldn’t walk on, and endless rain, I had an unforgettable experience. I saw the value in Cambridge’s tradition and appreciated their distinction between work and play.  Now that I'm back, I've been applying the values I learned in Cambridge to my life. Studying abroad was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had at MIT and one from which I learned a lot about myself.

 

Nick Prus

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (MIT), Academic Year 2013-2014
Course 14
My full year spent abroad at King’s College at the University of Cambridge was a period of immense growth for me, where my perception of the world was drastically altered and my perception of myself was refined and cultured. The education I obtained abroad was challenging in that it forced me to look at my subject in a different way and prioritize my resources in a way I never have before. I have a lot of family in England as well, and it was so special to interact with them in their home country. It was a candid view into the different aspects of English life that made me envy, but also appreciate, what living in the United States entails. I was even fortunate enough to play for the Cambridge Blues basketball team, where I was able to earn a Blue award on the team and forever be connected to the University.  By far, though, the best part about studying abroad was the people. To go to a different country and learn what other people value, and why, is an experience that not only makes you a more accepting person but a better person. This I believe to be definite. In only a year, I was able to make life-long friends that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. I smile every time I think back to my experiences, and cherish the fact I will have those memories forever.

 

Bailey Richert

University College London, Spring 2007; Semester at Sea, Spring 2010
Technology and Policy Program (TPP)
As an undergraduate, I studied abroad during two separate semesters: once in London and once through Semester at Sea (a 4-month circumnavigation of the globe by ship). Beyond simply exposing me to new perspectives on my work as an environmental engineer by connecting me with faculty at other universities, traveling abroad has had an impact on my future and career decisions in a way which I never anticipated. Specifically, I was exposed to the world of sustainable tourism and have learned just what impact my love of travel has on our earth. This is what ultimately led me to graduate school at MIT, where I pursue my passion in this arena by conducting research at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. I seek answers to questions such as, "what can businesses in the tourism industry do to be more innovative with regards to sustainability?" Leveraging my global experiences has been an essential tool as I carve my path forward in life, and I am honored to help others, especially students, realize the impact their journeys will have on them as well.

 

James Slonaker

John Cabot Univeristy, Rome, Spring 2014
Course 2
Studying abroad in Italy was one of the best experiences of my life. Having no knowledge of Italian, I was a little nervous at first, but quickly realized I made the right choice. I was able to immerse myself in another culture, while still taking classes necessary for me to graduate. I met amazing people from all over the world and made lasting friendships. The experience of living in a foreign country has definitely made me more confident to take on other challenges. I highly recommend studying abroad for any student that wants to bolster their academic experience with cultural learning and personal growth that is simply unavailable in a classroom. In addition to exploring Italy, I was also able to travel to 9 other countries in Europe. Now I just need to find a way to go back!

 

Alexa Strobel

Cambridge-MIT Exchange (Cambridge), Academic Year 2014-2015
Course 10


I am a Cambridge University student in course 10 at MIT this year. I love travelling and exploring different cultures, so I jumped at the opportunity to come to the other Cambridge. So far I’ve joined a sorority, started doing a UROP and have met so many amazing people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I am intrigued by how two world-class universities have such different approaches to education, yet both seem to be highly effective. Every day, being abroad teaches me to work hard but also to take risks and seize every day. I really like the Boston vibe and hope to discover many other US cities over the course of the year.

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.