Members of VTC Group
Home > Engineering Discipline Life > A Cross-cultural Exchange between MIT and IVE
A Cross-cultural Exchange between MIT and IVE
  • <p>“Despite different backgrounds, friendship has already flourished among IVE and MIT students, and they were also keen to stay in touch with each other.”</p>
  • <p>“Despite different backgrounds, friendship has already flourished among IVE and MIT students, and they were also keen to stay in touch with each other.”</p>
  • <p>“Despite different backgrounds, friendship has already flourished among IVE and MIT students, and they were also keen to stay in touch with each other.”</p>
  • <p>“Despite different backgrounds, friendship has already flourished among IVE and MIT students, and they were also keen to stay in touch with each other.”</p>
  • <p>“Despite different backgrounds, friendship has already flourished among IVE and MIT students, and they were also keen to stay in touch with each other.”</p>

“Despite different backgrounds, friendship has already flourished among IVE and MIT students, and they were also keen to stay in touch with each other.”

Aug 2013

The Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education received a group of very special guests in June – eight students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology stayed for two weeks and organised a series of workshops for 60 IVE students studying in various disciplines of engineering. Not only was it a great opportunity for IVE students to learn more about engineering, technology and the likes, it also marked the beginning of great friendships between the MIT and IVE students.

Every summer, a group of MIT students arrive in IVE under the MIT-China Educational Initiative (CETI), where they lead the two-week workshop as student instructors. IVE participants are divided into three groups: a) mathematics, computer science, finance and macroeconomics, b) biotechnology and product design, and c) civil engineering and physics. Two to three MIT student instructors are assigned to each group, and they have to be responsible for designing the programme rundown, giving lectures and introducing American culture to IVE students.

The programme, which is in the fourth year running, has been wildly popular among students from both institutions. For MIT participants, they have to attain a certain grade point average; they must also be socially confident and friendly. “At the end of the summer, the participants would go back to MIT. They are the ones who talk about their experiences and get other students interested. They are the best ambassadors,” said Mr. Sean Gilbert, Managing Director of MIT-China program. “Number one, they get along so well with IVE students who are very friendly. Their English skills are also quite good. Our students also learn about Chinese culture, and they get to go to Kowloon and some islands. They do things not just in the classroom.”

Most of the IVE attendees major in engineering, so the workshop gave them a chance to learn something they know very little about, such as biotechnology and finances. For example, one group of students had to learn about the origins of proteins, and their MIT student instructors made use of gummy bears to explain the complicated theory behind proteins. “Actually, I have never learnt anything about biology. The instructors managed to make people who have zero concepts about biology understand how proteins evolve from DNA,” said Jessica Chui, one of the IVE participants. “When they were giving us lectures, they were also showing us their way of giving presentations. In IVE, we can only see how our teachers and classmates give presentations. This workshop shows us how the Americans deliver presentations in English.”

After classes ended, or at the weekends, IVE students took MIT student instructors to different places in Hong Kong, showing them the other side of the city. “We went to the ladies’ market in Mong Kok, and we ended up getting a bunch of very cheap Asian goods,” said Alice Wen, one of the MIT student instructors. “The students have been incredibly hospitable and kind and welcoming to us. We not only learnt a lot about Hong Kong culture and slang, they also showed us different food places, and we had yum-cha. Besides food, we got the chance to explore different attractions. For example, we went hiking in Cheung Chau,” said Emma Nelson, another MIT student.

The MIT participants were also impressed with IVE students’ eagerness and enthusiasm in learning and practicing English. “We did not think that they would like practicing SAT English, but surprisingly they loved it. The IVE students treat SAT as a kind of puzzle, and they just love to solve the SAT questions,” Alice Wen said. “Some of them even stayed during lunch to finish the questions.”

Despite different backgrounds, friendship has already flourished among IVE and MIT students, and they were also keen to stay in touch with each other. “Especially with Facebook, Gmail and WhatsApp, now it is probably the easiest time to keep in touch with our new friends,” said Annabeth Gellman of MIT.

Exchange Activities
1 | 2 | 3
Engineering Discipline