1. Why should I get involved?
2. What countries are available through MIT’s international experience offerings?
3. When can I go? What kind of time commitment is required?
4. How do I find out what opportunities are available?
5. How can I afford to go?
6. How will an experience abroad affect my work-study or other financial aid package?
7. How will an experience abroad affect my housing?
8. How safe is traveling abroad as a student?
9. What happens if I get sick while I’m abroad? Does my MIT health insurance cover me?
10. What kinds of living situations are available abroad?
11. Won’t I fall behind in my course of study?
12. Can I get academic credit for an international experience?
13. Can I go with a group of friends?
14. Can freshmen participate? Can graduate students participate?
15. Can I participate if I’m a graduating senior?
16. Can International Students participate? Can I go to my home country?
17. Do I need to speak another language to participate?
18. Do I need any specific skills to participate?
19. Will there be chances for leisure travel while I am abroad?
20. Can I talk to someone to help me plan my trip?
21. How can I find out about previous participants’ experiences?
MIT educates innovators and leaders who influence the world; a complete MIT education includes hands-on international experiences that help to prepare MIT students for informed participation as global citizens and leaders.
Opportunities are available for every country except those listed as high-risk for travelers. To find the type of opportunity and the site that are right for you, think about the countries that you’d like to experience, language considerations, and opportunities that best fit your course of study and personal ambitions. Within a country, think about your preferences for urban or rural, academic or non-academic, mainstream or unusual, industry or public service. There are so many great experiences waiting to happen – also talk to your advisor about the possibility of working more than one experience into your academic plans.
Note that for safety, MIT does not support travel to countries on government “high-risk” warning lists except in some cases for students returning home to those countries. Travel policies change over time, so for current information, check the MIT travel advisories site.
Summer and IAP international activities enable students to dovetail international experiences smoothly with their courses and with other activities; study abroad and other term-time international opportunities offer longer stays and more cultural immersion. The time you spend abroad will depend on a combination of factors including your preferences, your academic requirements, and other aspects such as your other activities and the type of international opportunity that you select. Many students combine a variety of opportunities during their time at MIT so they have the chance to experience different countries and different activities over time.
Check out the “go global” website, ask your advisor, and ask your friends. Additional opportunities may be found through resources such as the International Development Network website http://web.mit.edu/idn and web searches within and outside of MIT. Also think about the sort of experience you’d like, and talk to staff in offices that offer that type of experience. There are international counterparts for many traditional opportunities: research, internships, public service projects, etc. If you have questions about MIT offerings, you can also email email@example.com and someone will direct you to the appropriate resource.
Every MIT student should be able to find an international experience that is financially feasible. Some programs cover all or partial expenses; some offer stipends; some advise students about funding resources or fundraising strategies. If you’re interested in a particular opportunity, talk with the program staff to find out what financial options are available. For more details, check out our funding page.
If you have general questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will direct you to the appropriate resources.
For study abroad, Student Financial Services works with undergraduate financial aid recipients to enable them to participate. If you’re an undergraduate receiving need-based financial aid and are approved to study out of residence, MIT will meet your full financial need. The program you are attending must take place during the fall or spring semester and must be approved for academic credit. There is no MIT financial assistance for study-out-of-residence opportunities during the summer. Your financial aid decision will be based on the budget for your particular study-out-of-residence program. For more details, go to: http://web.mit.edu/sfs/financial_aid/study_abroad.html
To be eligible for institutional financial aid while participating in other types of experiences abroad such as research, public service or internships, the experience would need to be for credit, and you must be considered enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for federal aid. As long as the experience is approved by your department and academic advisor and you meet the credit enrollment requirements, the experience would be considered no different than a study abroad.
If you receive financial aid and are planning an experience abroad, it’s
important to work with your financial aid counselor to discuss your specific plans and potential sources of funding.
Financial aid is not the only source of funding for studying abroad. Many MIT global programs cover all or partial expenses. For uncovered expenses, MIT has a large array of funding sources such as public service fellowships and grants, UROP funding, and many more. For more details, check out our funding page .
For undergraduates, the MIT Housing Office guarantees return housing for students who are returning from an approved program away, but a specific residence hall is not guaranteed. The office tries to accommodate student requests and is able to do so in most cases. Students who did not previously live on campus before going abroad are not guaranteed placement into an undergraduate residence hall upon return. For more information, visit the Housing Office Website.
For graduate students, you must follow the termination and renewal process outlined in the Graduate Housing Guide.
Any travel has inherent risks (as does just about any activity). Traveling as a student is not risk-free, but MIT has an excellent risk management system, and many of the programs have multiple safeguards. Resources include substantive pre-travel advising, in-country hosts and supervisors, team experiences, communications and monitoring systems, worldwide alumni networks, pre-travel health advice and prophylactic medication, and no-cost subscriptions to holistic emergency services.
Details of MIT’s Travel Risk Policy and related resources can be found at the MIT travel advisories site.
Students who are enrolled in the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan have coverage for emergencies anywhere. This has generally been limited to emergency room care as office visits have not been covered. However, effective 9/1/07, students now have added coverage for up to 4 office visits per year outside of MIT Medical. The Student Extended Plan is a PPO, which means you do not need a referral.
Under the MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan, the coverage for overseas is the same coverage as within the United States. However, the services rendered out of country are considered out of network and will be subject to a $250 deductible. After the deductible is reached, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) will pay 60% and you are responsible for the remaining 40%. BCBS will pay a maximum of 60% of the established BCBS allowable charge for a service. If the provider charges more than the BCBS allowed charge, you are responsible for the difference.
If you are admitted to the hospital as an inpatient, you must contact Blue Cross Blue Shield worldwide network (1-800-810-2583). It is also suggested that you go to the Blue Cross Blue Shield website for information on coverage and submitting claims while you are out of country: http://www.bcbs.com/coverage/bluecard/bluecard-worldwide.html.
A MIT Health Plans brochure is available which explains the new office visit coverage. You can stop by Claims & Member Services to pick up a brochure, discuss the claim submission process, and answer any other questions. They are located on the first floor by Pediatrics, in MIT Medical, building E23. You can also visit the MIT Medical student health plans website to see the other changes for 9/1/2007 and also to see the "Overview" about your insurance coverage or the detailed Summary Plan Description.
From host families to guest houses to dormatories, living arrangements will vary widely depending on the particular program, length of stay, and activity abroad. Check with the staff of the specific program that interests you.
Some international opportunities are available during semester breaks so there’s no interference with academics; others, such as study abroad, offer the possibility of departmentally-approved academic programs that provide transfer credit. Check with your academic advisor and the staff for the program you’re interested in doing for details about your specific situation.
Check out the student stories to see how other students fit an experience into their academic plans.
Several programs offer the possibility of academic credit for international experiences, including IROPs, MISTI programs, and service learning classes with international components, like D-Lab. Most study abroad experiences include academic credit. Check with program staff for definitive answers about your choices. Many international experiences also count toward the Minor in Applied International Studies; see the MISTI site for more information on the minor.
Some programs offer opportunities for students to form their own teams. Ask program staff whether this option is available. Other opportunities enable students to expand their circle of friends by forming teams from individual applicants or sending a number of students to work on individual opportunities at the same site.
Most programs are open to all students, but some programs require extensive language preparation or coursework in cultural orientation that may preclude freshmen, students in certain majors, or graduate students from participating. Check with program staff about possible constraints related to class level.
Most programs specify student participants, and they can’t allow alumni, however recent, to participate. Some make exceptions for students who will continue at MIT for graduate studies.
Don’t take the risk of waiting too long to apply for an international experience since many are competitive and selective. Start planning early in your MIT experience to be sure that you have a chance for a productive and timely international experience – perhaps several!
International students may participate in MIT opportunities like any other student, but depending on their country of origin and their visa status, they may need to secure special permissions or assurances to travel outside of the US or to particular countries, including their home country. You should discuss your plans with an advisor in the International Students Office.
Some programs require evidence of language proficiency before they support student travel to those regions; some provide language and cultural training. Others enable students to learn languages and cultural norms through first-hand experience on-site. Check with program staff to determine participation guidelines and requirements.
Screening for specific skills will depend on the activity that you are traveling to perform: for example, if you have a specific public service project or internship research activity to complete, it may require specific skills sets. On the other hand, many opportunities are available to help you develop skills overseas. Ask the staff of programs of interest about what skills or preparation, if any, are required for participation.
No matter what international experience you set out to do, you should plan to also take advantage of informal opportunities to meet people, see places, and have fun.
Absolutely. Staff who run programs that offer international experiences enjoy talking with students about their prospects and choices. Freshman advisors or academic advisors can be very useful resources to help students determine what experiences best integrate with personal and academic interests.
If you’re unsure about what programs are available or you have questions after doing some preliminary research into the possible opportunities available, you can also email globalMIT@mit.edu for helpful suggestions.
Program websites may have stories or information about student experiences with their programs. Staff and advisors may also be able to help you connect with students who have first-hand experience of the programs or countries that might interest you. Also, check out the student stories and MIT Admissions blogs.