Getting Ready for Lift-Off

My to-do list is never-ending, my sense of mild panic is growing, and I could not be more excited for the adventures that await me in Chandigarh, India. My name is Margot Malarkey and I’m a senior in the Community, Environment, and Planning (CEP) major in the College of Built Environments. I’m responsible for the missives that will be sent from the faculty-led UW Architecture/Urban Planning Chandigarh Winter Studio.

My academic focus has been a hodgepodge of environmental studies and urban planning, interrupted with outdoor adventures. I grew up in Seattle and chose to take a gap year between high school and college. After working for a local micro-finance non-profit I was lucky enough to backpack through Patagonia for three months and then spend another three months backpacking through the Talkeetna Mountain range in Alaska. After really focusing on school and internships the last three years, I returned to Alaska this summer to commercial fish in Cook Inlet.

I chose to participate on this study abroad program for two reasons: I wanted to experience a cross-cultural design exchange and I’m interested in how Indian cities are planning for the massive influxes in city populations as more and more people urbanize. As a student focused in urban planning, I think this will be a great opportunity to learn from and work with architecture students and faculty. I’ll be completely frank, I feel like a fish out of water. Not only am I going to a new and very different city but I have absolutely no architecture background – all sorts of growing opportunities!

Our studio offers a unique opportunity to study one of the most renowned modern cities in the world, Chandigarh. Le Corbusier, a pioneer of modern architecture, designed the city in the 1950s. Our UW student group will use the Chandigarh College of Architecture as a home base while we work with architecture students from the college on a quarter long studio… and that’s about as much as I know at this point and time!

Today I’m feeling a bit anxious about finishing up packing, getting myself from New Delhi to my home stay, getting to know all the people in my group, and being in a totally new place. I’m looking forward to actually starting my quarter abroad instead of just anticipating it. I’m also REALLY excited to devour delicious Indian food, form new friendships, and see where this adventure takes me.