Landscape in Translation

MLA students Luke Nichols and Peter Truax both received fellowships to take their studies overseas.

Truax was awarded a Judd Fellowship to study the relationship between WWI battle sites and memorials in Ypres, Belgium. “The landscape of the Western Front in WWI was unlike anything that had ever been created by man before – created and destroyed,” he said, going on to explain that how many former battlefields are fundamentally changed by war. “No one deliberately picks a landscape and says ‘here we shall have a battle, and 100 years from now it will be safe for people to come back.’ These are horrible, but also spontaneous and fascinating landscapes.”6113224721_19ea406228_b

Nichols received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship from the US Department of Education to study Mandarin in Shanghai over the 2015-16 academic year. In addition to intensive language classes, he’ll have the opportunity to complete an internship and take a few courses in landscape design and planning. He’s looking forward to visiting the interior courts of Beijing and the landscapes along the Yellow River.

Both agreed that designers benefit from fluency in a foreign language and culture.

Nichols explained that gaining fluency in Mandarin will help his career. “Language is a first step to understanding a culture. While I’m in China to learn the language, I’ll also learn a cultural backdrop. I can help firms in the United States with clients in China, or I can work in China and offer a unique perspective to a firm there.”

Truax added that landscape architecture transcends national boundaries. “Every nation in the world has landscapes that should be enjoyed and appreciated. Any time we have the opportunity to go abroad and experience an entirely different culture, as it relates to landscape, is a fascinating experience,” he said.

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Photo Credit: Benjamin Jakabek and Steve Riddle via Creative Commons.

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