This past summer, Joseph interned at HUB ilab in Xalapa, Mexico, where he was also joined by a fellow MIT student and a student from Olin College of Engineering. Since they lived together, they always commuted to work together. Joseph says that the walk to work was enjoyable since it allowed them to stop by a food stand that sold amazing freshly-pressed orange juice. On clear days, Joseph and his friends could also view el Pico de Orizaba, the highest mountain in Mexico and the third-highest in North America — which he says was quite a sight. When they arrived at ilab, they always enjoyed breakfast at a little food stand nearby the building, where a very-friendly father and a lovely grandmother sold tacos, empanadas, gorditos, and other typical Mexican foods. The salsa roja, salsa verde, and salsa de chile seco that accompanied the food was also super tasty.
At ilab, Joseph supported two groups of ilabbers. The first being the “Rookies”, who are students of a multi-month long entrepreneurship and innovation bootcamp. At the end of the bootcamp, this group will have formed startup teams and have produced a minimum viable product for their startup. The second group he supported are the “Incubas”, who are graduates of the Bootcamp who have decided to continue working on their startups in the ilab workspace.
Joseph supported both the “Rookies” and “Incubas” not only in technical roles but also by offering frequent feedback and advice regarding various aspects of their projects. Since the projects ran the gamut from energy conservation to biotechnology, Joseph was able to experience and learn about subjects from all sorts of fields. In addition, he also had the opportunity to present on some topics he had learned throughout his MIT career. As a biological engineering major, Joseph presented on “Gene Amplification and Gene Editing.”
To his pleasant surprise, Joseph says that the environment at ilab was very conducive towards making friends, as majority of the ilabbers were recent college graduates who were also similar in age. With his ilab friends, Joseph explored many parts of Mexico on the weekends — essentially dedicating each weekend to exploring a new place. Joseph had the opportunity to visit exciting places such as Puebla, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Mexico City, and other smaller “pueblos magicos.”
After such a wonderful experience in Mexico, Joseph already looks forward to his next opportunity to visit Mexico. “My experience in Mexico was an unforgettable experience. The work environment was perfect, the people were awesome, and the food was absolutely delicious.After such a great experience in Mexico, I would LOVE for another opportunity to return.” He would highly recommend the MISTI-Mexico program or any MISTI experience in general to anyone considering it. If you like to experience new cultures, travel, make new friends abroad, while at the same time gain work experience, then Joseph suggests MISTI is perfect for you. He would highly recommend Mexico in particular, as it is a very affordable country with great culture and delicious food. You may even encounter a lovely grandmother who may send you home with a jar of homemade salsa de chile seco :)