Today is a Great Day, Isn’t It?

I arrived in Boston at 4 am on March 28th, and started my day at 5 am – it was very cold. However, I was very lucky to catch an amazing time of day at the Port of Boston. I met a beautiful sunrise and witnessed how people in Boston start their weekday. Some people were running despite the cold air and some of them were walking busily to somewhere.  The architecture of the city is amazing. I could feel the energy of those buildings by walking beside them as a kid in a toy shop. Boston is the past and the present of American Architecture. This city successfully combines the old architecture of several generations and now it is building a new era with steel and glass.

After the trip to downtown, I went to Harvard University to see how students and professors are heading to their classes. I just stood at every corner of the campus and looked at how people here were running, discussing something scientific, and with shiny moods going in the buildings/halls. At 8 am, I went to the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Imagine the awesome feeling of stepping into the building that I had dreamed of for so long. As I planned, I watched the students’ exhibition and stayed for about 2 hours. I found many interesting projects, and even tried to understand how those students are feeling in the space and how they project it. The way they do things and think are still big questions for me.

While I was watching an exhibition, I suddenly saw a man in front of me watching the exhibits critically. It was Michael Hays, the professor of Architecture Theory at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). I’ve been taking his online course through (HarvardX/the Architectural Imagination) for the last 2 years. We talked a little bit about architecture. He gave me some advice and wished me many good things, which made my day. I could only dream about this meeting. I even felt myself as a kid who just got the first Christmas gift ever. Then, I was allowed to explore the famous 7-floor open space design studio. There, I met graduate students, asked questions about their current projects, and how they ended up attending the GSD. That studio is full of the great spirit of the generations who have been exploring, shaping, and changing the world’s architecture.

As I finished my trip to the Graduate School of Design, I went to the Cambridge Library. There, I planned the next part of the day properly. The next big event on that day was a lecture by Jenette Sadik-Khan about planning people/pedestrian-oriented cities and keeping them as an eco-green city. Ms. Sadik-Khan realized most of New York City’s urban projects of making safe spaces for pedestrians and creating a green city. I planned the participation in that lecture 2 months ago. The lecture was amazing, everything that was said there was new for me. This was an idea-sparking lecture, and even I had some ideas for my home city. After the lecture, I had a chance to meet Ms. Sadik-Khan personally and talk about to ‘how to fight for the streets.’

Happiness is in daily steps toward dreams by achieving plans. I made one of the important steps to my dream by seeing the university, which was for me seemed impossible to visit. I got the inspiration that one day I’ll leave this place full of incredible professional knowledge and with a diploma as one of the best students. When I was leaving Harvard, I was so thankful to the people who made it possible for me and the other thousands of students who came through the Global UGRAD. If the world is a big fairy tale, the Global UGRAD students have fairy godmothers and fathers who are giving them chances to find the right way to grow as future leaders. Thousands of thanks to you, Global UGRAD. This was my best spring break ever!

Written by Asanbek Kaldybaev, 2018-2019 Global UGRAD student from Kyrgyzstan at Indiana State University