By Milani Chatterji-Len

This summer I am working in a research lab at Imperial College of London through the MIT-Imperial Exchange. The program, which strengthens the relationship between Imperial and MIT, sends students from across many departments at MIT to Imperial, and vice versa, every summer.

The other 17 MIT students and I are part of a larger International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) at Imperial, with participating students from Korea, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, Germany and other countries. Along with being an amazing research experience, the program allows us to explore life in London and travel around Europe.

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Some of the MIT-Imperial Exchange students at the IROP Welcome Afternoon Tea after week one of the exchange.

I’m working in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Environment and Water Resources section. My project, under the direction of Professor Wouter Buytaert, improves flood early warning systems in the Himalayan region.

For the past few weeks, I have been creating a hydraulic model in MATLAB to attempt to precisely predict river flow during flood events. The project has been a great way to apply MATLAB and fluid mechanics knowledge from classes at MIT to real-world problems. It’s also been exciting working at a university with a different work culture and lab structure.

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Students from MIT, Imperial, Oxford, and University of Michigan on the pier in Brighton, England.

In addition to exciting research, London also offers great travel opportunities. I intend to explore London and travel through the UK and Europe every weekend, because there are so many exciting places to see in and around the city.

Plus, train, bus, and plane tickets tend to be less expensive because of the advanced European transit systems! This past weekend, I traveled to Brighton with a group of IROP and UROP students at Imperial. Brighton is a beach town on the southern coast of England, with a beautiful (albeit rocky) shore and tons of cute shops and restaurants.

In the following weeks, I will continue working on my research, traveling around Europe (Amsterdam and Paris!) and meeting new students at Imperial. MIT CEE’s participation in programs like this one is great, as it allow us to have amazing new research and living experiences abroad.

This summer, MIT CEE undergraduates Abby Harvey and Milani Chatterji-Len are working in research labs at the Imperial College of London as part of the MIT International Research Opportunities Program (IROP).