In the summer of 2014 I had the privilege of attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an exchange student in the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. During my time there I had the opportunity to work on two cutting-edge research projects. Moreover, my time in Boston was also a fantastic chance to experience the American culture, both in terms of work ethic and overall personality.
The time spent at MIT, apart from being an amazing intellectual experience, was also a fantastic cultural exchange. "
Indeed, the opportunity to work in an overseas research laboratory for over two months really allowed me to get a feel for the American work ethic and personality, a knowledge I believe will greatly help my chances of being employed in the US in the future. Admittedly, when I was going into it, I did not really believe that the culture was going to be that different in the US than it is in the UK. Alas, I could not have been more mistaken. I found that Americans tend to be much more up-front and direct in their day-to-day interactions, and that their business relationships seem to be much more causal and informal.
The exchange program was also a great opportunity to get to know parts of the US I may otherwise not have had the opportunity to get to know. For example, we took a number of day trips to places like Providence, Salem (where the witch hunt took place!) and New York City. Another great experience, and definitely one of the highlights of the placement, was when one of the PhD candidates in the lab I was working in offered to fly out to Cape Cod in his plane. I don’t think I will ever forget the sight of flying over Boston and the Cape at only a few hundred feet!
The exchange program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was an incredible opportunity to do research in a world-class institution while getting to know the American culture. Although travelling to a new country and starting to work in a new environment can sometimes be a bit nerve-wracking, I found that the Aeronautics department and the Global Educ
ation office were welcoming and helpful throughout the entire placement. Indeed, my supervisor could not have been more supportive and friendly. The dorm we stayed in, Maseeh Hall, was also a great setting to make new friends and compare university experiences from across the pond, as it was full of MIT students doing research projects and inductions over the summer. All in all, I would recommend this exchange to absolutely any other student, as it has provided me with unforgettable experiences as well as a sea of knowledge that I will be able to call upon in years to come