As I write this week’s newsletter piece, I am in Chongqing, China, in the last week of a three week trip with a group of graduate students. Stepping out into the wider world has long been a part of the education and development of design professionals. This kind of experience is even more important today in our curated, internet driven world. Where ‘reality’ can be a carefully constructed illusion, designed to present a convincing, albeit often distorted, view of the world. The opportunity to actually experience different places and different peoples allows one to develop a richer understanding of the diverse world in which we live. Rather than the hyper environment of crated illusion, one gets to see the everyday along with the spectacular. This experience helps you appreciate both, as important parts of a healthy community. In China, our students have enjoyed seeing the lingering cultural landscape of an ancient civilization and the emerging world of rapid urbanization at a scale that is difficult at times to get your mind around. The tension between these two realities gives our students, in real time, the opportunity to see how change and continuity engage in a constant argument for their legitimacy in our contemporary world. The understanding of the complexity of our world can be accessed through the breadth of information available on the internet, but perspective is gained through experiencing the diversity of human settlement and the environment in person. The college has a number of programs available to give the students the opportunity to have these kinds of experiences in different ways and in different places. If you are interested in a study abroad program or trip, visit with your adviser for more details.