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Study Abroad in India: Chelsea Brown

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Chelsea Brown, a fourth year student in architecture, recently returned from a summer study abroad in India. “During the fall of my third year at Northeastern, I realized I was half-way complete with my undergraduate education. I saw this summer as an opportunity to do something different.” While on her first co-op at Youth Build Boston she became interested in alternative architectural pursuits. A summer studying Eastern architecture was exactly that.

Through the SIT World Learning program, Himalayan Buddhist Art and Architecture, Chelsea was able to travel through the two northern-most states of India: Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashir. The program followed the ancient path of the Silk Road through some of the highest motor-able mountain passes in the world, to visit ancient Buddhist monasteries. Stopping to study the 1000 year old structures as well as surviving wall paintings, Chelsea was given a rare opportunity to visit structures originally built for only the highest educated Buddhist monks. While on the program, she completed an independent research project, in which she studied the palaces of the Namgyal Dynasty of Ladakh. Recalling themes discussed in the Berlin Sustainability Seminar, Chelsea analyzed the traditional construction methods of the palaces in response to both climate and culture.

This immersion, complete with traditional dress, had Chelsea returning to Boston with a fresh perspective. “I hope to apply my experiences abroad, both in Germany and India, to my school work in Boston. Travel has taught me that fresh opportunities are available in all parts of the world. Most importantly, I have learned that architecture manifests itself in countless forms, the majority of which are yet to be uncovered.”