Over summer 2014, I spent 8 weeks doing a UROP at MIT. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and felt I learned a lot both academically and culturally. I worked in an Experimental Atomic Physics
group and split my time between practical lab work and analytical work. It was great to experience life in such a prestigious institution and in a group probing the fundamentals of Physics. I also got to spend a lot of time in Boston, experiencing life in another country and exploring the city’s sights as well as fitting in a long weekend in New York. I would definitely recommend the experience!
Life at MIT was very different from life at Imperial College: Boston is a very different city to London and the universities themselves are very different (for one thing, MIT is enormous). I was part of a group of 12 Imperial students and 3 Oxford students on the same exchange programme at MIT and we formed a close group, spending the evenings and weekends together. We were all housed in MIT’s Maseeh Hall which is situated next to the Charles River and is very close to where the majority of us were working. For our time there, we were entitled to all the benefits of being an MIT student including free access to the sports facilities. The highlight of this for me was being able to learn to sail and then take out boats on the river for free.
We spent a lot of time exploring Boston and having meals out. We walked the Freedom Trail (a walk encompassing Boston’s historical sites), went whale-watching, went to the aquarium and the Museum of Science, saw a free Shakespeare play on Boston Common, visited Harvard, went to Revere Beach and saw a Red Sox baseball game (we got upgraded from standing places to field boxes with an amazing view and I got a ball that one of the players threw to the crowd). Our meals out included two lobster restaurants (lobster is very cheap and very tasty in Boston) and a great steak place. One weekend a group of us asked for the Friday off work and went to New York for a three day weekend which was the highlight of the sightseeing side of the trip for me. In two evenings I went to two jazz clubs and two Broadway shows – all of which were spectacular – as well as doing a lot of sightseeing during the daytime.
Overall, both the academic and cultural sides of the trip were excellent and I thoroughly recommend the experience. "
I had a fantastic time at MIT and gained experience of working in an Experimental Physics research environment as well as experiencing life in a different university and country. Overall, both the academic and cultural sides of the trip were excellent and I thoroughly recommend the experience.