Friday, May 27, 2011

April Orientation

I forgot to talk about the April Orientation in my earlier posts.

April Orientation happens every year and lasts for a week. It happens in Cambridge and is organised by the program office and the existing class of Sloan Fellows. Its basically the first formal meeting that the new Sloan Fellows have with the members of the program office, professors, fellow classmates.

The week long schedule consists of sample classes, getting to know MIT, get together s, sessions with partners and families of existing class, breakfast and lunch meetings with key speakers etc. A lot of time during the week is also allocated for house hunting. The main objective is to give the incoming class (and their families) a flavor of their experience at MIT.

All students have to make their own arrangement for a week long stay in Cambridge. Hotels during that time do get very expensive (over $150 a night). However, there are other cheaper options available. (check out www.airbnb.com).

Point to note here is International Students have to travel on a B1/B2 visa. So unless one has a business/travel visa already its difficult (and expensive too) for one to get a B1 visa first and then again apply for a F1 Visa.

Important question is - Is it worth traveling all the way for the orientation.?

When I asked this question from the members of the previous class, I got mixed responses. However, majority of them did mention that people who don't attend the orientation don't miss out on anything. In my opinion, if your housing is taken care of, which means you have finalized it online, then you have a lot of free time during the orientation week. I had finalized my place before the orientation and even though I had a B1/B2 visa, I did not come in April. Also, my F1 visa interview date was clashing with the orientation dates.


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