School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

"Mens et Manus" Goes Global

MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives program will send students to six continents this summer.

This year the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) program will send more than 1,000 students abroad. From conceptualizing electric-bicycle kits in Spain to developing assistive technology devices in Mexico, MISTI students will learn about new cultures and explore techniques for solving the world’s challenges through experiences with partners across the globe. Through their experiences abroad, students gain a firsthand understanding of the international workplace, learn to navigate scientific networks and begin to understand just how far an MIT education can take them.

Here are a few things the more than 600 2017 MISTI summer interns will do:

  • hole up in the island of Pellestrina, Italy, with MIT professors Paola Rizzoli and Andrew Whittle to study the Venice lagoon and the mechanical gates that will protect Venice from high waters;
  • explore ancient sites in Italy with a view to inventing new technologies and materials to protect them with Assistant Professor Admir Masic;
  • design a recumbent tricycle for athletes with disabilities using robotic technologies in Berlin;
  • team up with Israeli scientists at the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat to research coral reefs;
  • work on the development of an Earth observation spacecraft in collaboration with Russia’s first private space company, Dauria Aerospace;
  • teach STEM subjects to high school students in Armenia;
  • mentor future mobile-tech entrepreneurs and spur start-up development in Algeria, Mauritius, South Africa, Peru, Brazil, Russia, and Germany; and
  • collaborate with researchers and farmers in Uganda to identify and tackle debilitating crop disease.

MISTI is MIT’s pioneering international education program, based in the Center for International Studies in MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS). Founded in 1983 by SHASS faculty, the program is rooted in the "mens-et-manus" ("mind-and-hand") tradition: Faculty in SHASS first prepare MIT students for their internships with courses in the language, history, and culture of their host countries. MISTI then matches students with tailored internship, research, and teaching opportunities abroad — training them for cross-cultural careers and leadership on global teams. MISTI also facilitates international faculty collaborations and develop partnerships with leading companies, research institutes, and universities around the world.

Video by: Lillie Paquette and MISTI alumnus Andrei Ivanov | 2 minutes, 26 seconds