MISTI launches new initiatives for 2020-2021

Summer 2021 MISTI applications to look ‘very similar’ to typical year

MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) has launched several new initiatives, including a domestic internship program, remote experiential learning opportunities, a first-year learning community, and a new podcast, for the 2020–2021 academic year. If public health conditions do not permit travel Summer 2021, MISTI plans to continue offering remote internships and research opportunities.

“MISTI staff was hard at work this summer, testing out new programs and formats in the post-COVID reality,” MISTI Communications Manager Anna-Rose Stember wrote in an email to The Tech. Stember wrote that MISTI’s “numerous global hackathons have brought together hundreds of student participants worldwide to solve critical problems surrounding the coronavirus and other global issues.” Individual programs have been running a series of webinars examining COVID-19 related issues from a global perspective.

MISTI piloted a domestic internship program Summer 2020, placing several students in remote internships with companies located in non-coastal areas of the U.S. such as the South and Midwest. Stember wrote that MISTI is “currently planning to continue the pilot in Summer 2021.”

MISTI is participating in the Experiential Learning Opportunity guarantee, providing undergraduates a chance to earn a stipend of up to $1,900. Stember wrote that MISTI “organized around 250 remote opportunities for students” and plans to “match students with placements for fall and IAP.” This initiative will continue in the spring.

MISTI has also launched a biweekly “MISTI Radio” podcast “for students, staff, and faculty to reflect on their experiences abroad and how they relate to identity, culture, and broader global challenges,” Stember wrote.  

MISTI collaborated with MIT Global Languages to launch Tutmonda, a first-year learning community focused on international experiences and learning new languages and cultures. 

Additional MISTI initiatives include a partnership with the Language Conversation Exchange “to share cultural presentations and practice language skills with the MIT community” and a series of career-focused panel discussions.

MISTI programs remain open to international students, but placing them within their home countries will be “limited” in accordance with MIT’s pandemic response. International students who contact their local program managers can expect an experience “similar” to those participating in a regular MISTI program, Stember wrote. The program manager “will review their resume and transcript,” meet with the student to discuss their interests and goals, and work to create a placement for the student in a company or lab in their home country, comparable to a traditional MISTI experience.

Students applying to MISTI for Summer 2021 can expect the application cycle to look “very similar to a typical year,” Stember wrote. Programs will accept applications throughout fall and early winter and meet with students to find a placement. 

While “in-person placements will depend on whether travel to and from the host country is possible next summer,” Stember wrote that MISTI will “convert these experiences to remote opportunities” wherever possible so that “students can still gain valuable skills while receiving the cross-cultural integration that makes MISTI programs so unique.”