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New York Experienced

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Almost every summer now, since the 6th grade, I’ve attended an academic summer program, and every summer, I looked forward to the various adventures a three month holiday promised to bring. I had two rules: one, was that I never returned to the same location, because one of my favorite things about attending these programs was being able to acquaint myself with a new living area and the new people that surrounded it; two, I never traveled with a friend. I thoroughly entertained the idea of traveling some place entirely new all on my own, ready to take on the adventure of summer by my own means. Deciding to break my own rule this year by returning to New York is far from a mistake; it is, in fact, maybe one of the best decisions I could possibly be making, because to me, New York is very likely one of the most dynamic and vibrant communities that exist in our world today.
Over the years, I’ve visited New York with my family several times, each time only enjoying the city more as I grew older and learned to appreciate all that it had to offer. This summer, I visited the High Line and was able to see how infrastructure has the ability to spur urban gentrification, and in the process, impact the entire dynamism of its surroundings. Having grown up in Taipei all my life, I’ve learned to cherish the cultural melting pot of an urban environment and the distinct areas of a city that are often simultaneously both so alike and dissimilar. I’ve walked along the UES, as well as Fordham road, and seen how such starkly contrasting neighborhoods have the ability to come together and become the lifeblood of a city and its people. New York City fascinates me, and being able to make it an urban case study would not only be an enlightening experience, but also an amazing educational opportunity for me.

Having visited Columbia twice during past summers, I’ve also seen that the school provides an ideal campus and learning environment where a student’s desire to learn is not only promoted, but fueled by the diversity of its surroundings and inhabitants. I believe that Columbia’s Summer Program will be able to advance my interests in the social aspects of life and urbanism. At school, it has always been the humanities studies and social sciences that have enthralled me and nurtured my desire to learn. My appreciation of urbanism and its resources provide the potential for an educational experience that will make this course not only truly enjoyable, but beneficial for me. Interacting with people and place is what I believe, makes life so pleasurable, and this urban case study is what will allow me to explore my interests in a variety of social sciences, while also fostering my understanding of New York and urbanism as a whole.



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