CETI  Program and Application Process

Q: What is CETI?

A: The MIT-China Educational Technology Initiative (CETI) was established by MIT students in 1996 with the original purpose of “helping to connect a few Chinese high schools to the Internet and introducing basic web design techniques.” CETI now partners with more than 15 universities and high schools across Greater China. CETI participants form in groups of three to pick summer teaching destinations, as well as create their own curricula in coordination with their host schools. The program promotes academic and cultural exchange through hands-on applications of science and technology. For more, please visit our about page.

Q: Is CETI related to MIT MISTI? How is CETI funded?

A: Yes, CETI is an MIT MISTI program, however it is student organized. CETI is funded by MIT MISTI.

Q: How is CETI run and organized?

A: CETI is managed by CETI Exec, a team of about 8 MIT undergrads who have volunteered to lead CETI after they participated in the program.  CETI is directed by Sean Gilbert, Managing Director of CETI and MISTI China programs.

Q: I lived in China for a long time. Do I qualify for CETI?

A: CETI’s mission is to allow MIT students to experience a new and unique culture. If you lived in China right before attending MIT, then unfortunately you don’t meet the requirement for CETI. However, if you lived in China before high school, then you still qualify.

Q: How do I apply? How many applicants are accepted?

A: Students apply online to CETI by October 31st. Each year approximately 50 MIT students apply for 15 CETI positions. Those accepted are organized into several teams that teach at 2-4 Chinese universities or high schools over the summer.

In the classroom: Facilities, Audience, Curriculum

Q: How do you pick teams and locations?

A: We hold a number of small CETI events early in the spring semester. You have about a month to meet everyone and rank your top three teammates. CETI Exec will then pick teams of three, trying to optimize for everyone’s first choices. After you get to know your team, we reveal the list of school packages, and you pick your favorites as a team.

Q: What do you teach? Is the curriculum up to us?

A: Curriculum requirements vary a lot. Sometimes the program will be similar to a high school summer camp where the plan is to run mostly fun and active events and activities (e.g., icebreakers, break dancing, fun games). On the other hand, sometimes the school will want a 2-week lesson plan on topics like biomedical engineering or U.S. culture. The curriculum is the responsibility of the CETI group members, and they work in close coordination with the host school to tailor an engaging and educational experience to their students. Students’ majors and interests vary, so in some cases, lesson plans might change for each school.

Q: What are the classrooms like? What technology do I have access to?

A: Classrooms range from limited in technology (only one chalkboard) to extremely well-equipped (multiple projectors, huge chalk boards, a wireless microphone and sound system, etc). It’s best to ask your host school contact via email before you get there, so you know what to expect and how to plan your curriculum accordingly.

Q: Will I have internet access?

A: Yes, but probably not everywhere. For example, it might only available in classrooms. WiFi might also be slow and unreliable, so it’s best to download all videos and teaching materials ahead of time. Also make sure to bring a Ethernet dongle if your laptop doesn’t have on-board Ethernet.

Q: Will I have access to a printer/photocopier?

A: Yes, however you’ll probably need to ask for the copies a day or two in advance. Best advice is to bring a USB flash drive with the files to print.

Q: If I need extra materials (e.g., for a group project) will I have to seek them out, or will a TA/program assistant be able to get them for us?

A: It depends on the school. Sometimes you will have TAs dedicated to the program who will help you with any task related to the program. Other times you’ll have to be prepared to seek out how to buy the materials on your own.

Travel Planning and Logistics

Q: How do we book travel? Do we get travel insurance?

A: It is the responsibility of the CETI participants to book flights, coordinate travel plans, and communicate with host schools on arrival logistics. (But don’t worry, if you have any questions, CETI Exec will help you as best we can!) You will receive MIT-sponsored international medical insurance, as well as International SOS travel assistance, for the duration of your CETI trip abroad. For more information about travel medical insurance, please refer to the MISTI Health & Safety page.

Q: Does CETI help with visa applications?

A: CETI has a robust knowledge of the China visa application process and will help you get a visa in time for the summer. CETI will cover the cost of the visa application. Just make sure you have a valid passport in your hands when it’s time to send out the visa applications! For more about passports and visas, visit MISTI Travel & Logistics page.

Q: Do we get a stipend for CETI?

A: Yes, CETI pays every participant a tax-free travel allowance before the summer begins. This stipend is approximately calculated to cover the cost of a roundtrip nonstop flight from Boston to Beijing, as well as around $50 USD per day cost of living allowance for a six week trip in the Greater China area.

 Out of the classroom: Living in China

Q: How do I sync up with my host school contact?

A: You will receive the email address of a professor or student leader once your team receives its summer assignment listing. Once you book travel, send them the arrival info and make sure a link-up plan has been made. A list of contact phone numbers would be good to have. You can never have too much contact info!

Q: What should I bring to China?

A: That’s a good question! There will be some initial differences in China that make being prepared pretty important. We’re working on a blog post about this topic… stay tuned.

Q: Will CETI pay for accommodations during the summer?

A: No, CETI provides a lump sum travel stipend for you to use however you wish; this includes paying for lodging and accommodation. Most universities will have dorms you can stay at for free, but be prepared to book hostels/hotels between teaching assignments. (Note: dorms will most likely be single gender.)