Thirty-one MIT undergraduates from seven academic departments have been selected to participate in the undergraduate student exchange program between MIT and the University of Cambridge and will study in the United Kingdom in 2001-02. A group of approximately 30 undergraduates from Cambridge will study at MIT next year.
In a letter presented to the students at a reception in the Stratton Student Center last Friday, Dean for Undergraduate Education Robert P. Redwine said, "We are very excited about this new educational opportunity for MIT undergraduates. I look forward to keeping in touch with you as you undertake the delights and challenges of a new living and learning experience."
The student exchange program was established as part of the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI). Nine MIT undergraduates have spent all or part of this year at Cambridge; the coming academic year is the first year of the actual exchange between the universities.
Looking ahead to their year abroad, the MIT students are anticipating travel, new friends, a different type of academic experience, adventure, London fog, cricket, soccer and crew. Their names, majors and brief comments from some of them follow. (All are sophomores this year unless otherwise specificed.)
Raag Airan, physics: "I'm looking forward to studying at Cambridge because of the possibilities of doing really good physics there. I also am looking forward to the different style of education and the proximity to the rest of Europe, which I will take advantage of overthe breaks and the longer weekends."
Jessica Baker, mechanical engineering: "I'm really excited to get new perspectives both on ways of learning and ways of living -- seeing the differences in two cultures that, on the surface, are very similar."
Roshan Baliga, electrical engineering and computer science (EECS): "I'm looking forward to the British way of teaching. I like the personal responsibility required and I'm also looking forward to learning with students from England. If possible, I would like to work in a lab at Cambridge."
Maya Chandru, physics: "I was hoping to continue with the neurobiology research I've been involved in here at MIT. I'm currently in the process of contacting a few labs at Cambridge and am very excited about the possibilities."
Shelli Farhadian, mathematics: "While I am definitely serious about my academics (math), I'm looking forward to going abroad for other reasons. These include meeting many new people, exploring different places even within Cambridge and England, and having free time to engage in a variety of activities which include but are definitely not limited to sports."
Marc-Kwesi Farrell, chemical engineering: "I think it will be a great experience overall -- different country, different people, different social and academic environment. In addition, I get to see my sister (who is studying at Trinity College) and I also get to play cricket!"
Julee Hong, materials science and engineering: "I hope pursuing my thesis will allow me to form more connections and closer ties to more professors and other students (perhaps more graduate students) at Cambridge."
Nancy Hsia, earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences: "I wanted to study abroad before I even came to MIT, so being accepted to do this program has been like a dream come true."
Terry Huang, materials science and engineering: "When I read a lot as a kid, my favorite authors seemed to be British (Susan Cooper, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charlotte Bronte). And Robin Hood was English, too. I want to see the moors (Wuthering Heights, The Secret Garden, The Moorchild). So it's been one of my intents to live in England for a year or so and visit London, where Sherlock Holmes is from, and be able to describe in my own bitter epithets just how horrible London fog is."
Tilke Judd, mathematics: "[I'm looking forward to] new activities, new friends, new places, new traditions and discovering them all. And Cambridge has more formal events."
Lauren Killian, mechanical engineering: "I'm really excited to experience Cambridge's different style of teaching and learning. I'm also looking forward to meeting new people (with my favorite accent), seeing England and new places in general, and being involved in several extracurriculars."
Allison Lambert, chemical engineering: "I am absolutely ecstatic. I never thought that an engineering major would be offered such an opportunity. I look forward to learning all about English culture, to adapting to a new teaching style, to traveling Europe and to meeting new people."
Emily Oliphant, chemical engineering: "I have never been outside the US. I'm now going to China this summer and England next year. I'm really excited about the way Cambridge University sets up its academics, where the main emphasis is on learning the material, not on completing the problem set.
Adrian Solis, EECS: "The experience of being in a different country with a culture that's quite different from what I'm used to really excites me. The long vacations are nice, too, especially since continental Europe is but a ferry/train ride away. Also some people in my Harvard Italian class will be in England next year; it should be fun meeting them and going over the Channel together."
Eric Swart, chemical engineering: "I think it'll be very useful to learn in a more self-directed learning system. More importantly, I plan on trying out for the lightweight crew team there and am really excited about the prospect of rowing in England."
Also going to Cambridge are Stephen Bathurst, Patrick Buckley, Robert Peliks, Martin Tolliver and Cameron Wheeler of mechanical engineering; Christina Keenan of civil and environmental engineering; Kristin Brodie and Marc Soares of chemical engineering; Ankur Mehta and junior Ketan Vyas of physics; and Yuriy Brun, Jessie Chen, Joshua Peters, Hubert Pham, junior Paul Pham and Daniel Roy of EECS.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 16, 2001.