Alumni Spotlight: Evelyn Ferreira on Her Life Changing Experience of being in India



By Riddhi Chakraborty, GPA Alumni and Public Relations Coordinator

Evelyn is an alumni of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program and was a participant in the International Practice Pathway (IPP) organized by the  Global Public Affairs at UCLA. In the summer of 2014 Evelyn traveled to India and worked with SaciWATERs on urban sanitation and women’s health.

Currently she is the Owner and Founder of Neat, a home-organizing company located out of Portland, Oregon. Her organization aims at bringing happiness and well-being into the intimate scale of the home and she believes that her education and experience as a planner has enabled her to understanding and appreciating the importance of creating healthy environment.

In recent tet-e-tet with members of the GPA@Luskin team, she elaborated on her perspective of the globalization.

We live in a globalized work. It is no longer ‘globalizing’. It is globalized… We are all interconnected, and so are all of our political decisions and the choices that are made in our build environments. The more we understand the big picture and how these puzzle pieces connect, the better we can make localized urban planning decisions.”

When asked about her experience in India and how that changed her understanding of the world, she reaffirmed that it was a “life-changing experience” for her.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Hyderabad, India, interning with SaciWATERs. I have always had a fascination with international work, development, and how policy impacts the built environment and can result in slum housing, homelessness, etc. Traveling to India was a life-changing experience for me at so many levels.

It exposed me to a new culture, a new way of looking at life as each culture relates to human existence differently, and I also came to a deeper understanding and appreciation for the differences that exist in our world.

There is no one way to build an environment. Many nations are struggling with similar issues (for example, slums and homelessness in India are looking increasingly like our concerns here in the U.S.), and when we can set our feet on the ground, interact directly with people of different cultures, we can better learn to navigate the diversity and complexity that exists at all levels when looking for sustainable ways of building our environment.

Yes, collaboration is necessary – and in order to do so, we have to develop a sensitivity, listening, and macro perspective of how things fit in together.”

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