10.02.2023 | 
Education, Science
Within the framework of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI) Global Teaching Labs (GTL) program Yerevan State University (YSU) hosted three students back in January this year for the first time. MIT students Yu Jing Chen, Anne Snyder, and Sean Zhang taught three different subjects and held hands-on workshops for YSU students.

MISTI Global Teaching Labs aim to allow students of divergent backgrounds to learn by teaching foreign students science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. YSU students got the chance to learn “Leadership and Negotiation for Social Change”, “Market Design”, and “Persuading with Data” - those subjects are crucial and decisive in the contemporary world, and learning about the foreign experience fosters Armenian students develop their skills and broaden their mindset.


The program’s local coordinator Khachik Abajyan told us when MIT offered to include Yerevan State University as part of their cooperation, YSU certainly expressed its willingness to join the program with great motivation and excitement. 


“The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the leading universities in the world and cooperation with MIT is a great honor for us and marks the beginning of a new partnership; it allows us to expand our collaboration with them in the future. This year, other projects will possibly be implemented with them, but they are still under discussion. This cooperation is especially important for us, as one of YSU’s primary goals is the internationalization of the university, and cooperation with aforesaid universities is a big step toward the realization of that”, - noted Khachik.



Before coming to Armenia GTL participants attended MISTI Prep and Training sessions designed to help them make the most of their experience in Armenia.


Yu Jing, who taught “Leadership and Negotiation for Social Change” subject, is confident that the skills she provided during the workshops are essential for solving the world's biggest problems. Teaching is one of the professions she has been thinking a lot about potentially doing and this opportunity has shown her how difficult yet gratifying it can be.



“Students are able to learn in a workshop style a topic that they may not otherwise be able to. Because it is only over the course of a month, it allows students to fully immerse over a short period and take interesting topics that might be outside of their field. I had students across many different faculties at YSU, and not only were they able to learn from me and me from them, but they were also able to learn from each other”, - noticed Yu Jing.


In addition, Yu Jing mentioned the support she received from YSU that helped her smoothly organize the workshops.

“Yerevan State University has been incredibly welcoming. It has become a second home for me in many ways. The people at YSU have put so much time, care, and energy into making sure we had an amazing experience in Armenia, and that the students in our classes had a meaningful time”,- she said.


Anne Snyder, who instructed “Market Design”, talking about the program's advantages, mentioned that it helped her develop her skills while learning about new cultures and traditions.



“This program allowed me to learn and grow as a student, professional, and just as a person. The students at YSU are hardworking, kind, and hospitable. It has been amazing to work with them and become friends, and I hope to come to visit again”, - said Anne. 


“Persuading with Data” subject tutor Sean Zhang, bringing up his motive and reason for participating in the program, said he wanted to help technical-oriented students communicate their ideas effectively, enhance his understanding of the topic through teaching, and get immersed in the Armenian culture.



“I like the history of Yerevan State University, Armenia, the modern facilities, and the seamless support offered to me. I appreciate my students’ commitment to my workshop and willingness to learn. Most students in my workshop spent a significant amount of time outside of the classroom putting together their final presentations, which they delivered in a professional manner and quality in the last class”, - specified Sean.   


Aside from teaching Yu Jing, Anne, and Sean managed to get acquainted with Armenians, visit the sights of not only Yerevan but Armenia generally and get to know the culture from the locals. They visited Garni, Geghard, Sevan, Dilijan, Ejmiatsin, Sardarapat, Tsakhkadzor, Gyumri, and Khor Virap, where they saw Mount Ararat from a short distance, ate Armenian traditional gata, tried to make lavash, and ride ropeways.



Cooperations like this stimulate students and academic staff to grow as professionals, develop their skills, expand international networks, and learn new cultures. Currently, YSU collaborates with 270 universities and research centers from 50 countries. The wide range of partnerships provides an opportunity to implement several projects and programs, among which the exchange programs of Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. Students play a vital role.


Ani Sukiasyan



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