Margaret Navin

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Carnegie Mellon University

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

You often don’t realize the expectation you carry until those expectations are not met or exceeded. Margaret Navin came to Berlin with a few, but strongly held, expectations about what Berlin would be like without realizing that she was viewing these things as givens. Firstly, she didn’t expect to live in a neighborhood so full of cultural change and migration. Kruezberg, a largely Turkish neighborhood of Berlin, was booming with a unique culture at all hours of the day and night. And everyday on her way to studio she passed over where the Berlin wall stood, providing a constant reminder of the rich history that still has its part in the landscape today. Another expectation she carried was that she would be in a class with other art students from all over the country. Turns out, she was the only art student in the program, which first caused feelings of loneliness and disappointment, but was turned around into a productive time of self reflection and provided the independent time to focus on her passion in a real world setting. Further, she didn’t expect to be so sensitive to all the changes in her environment. Food, transportation, language barriers, and finding her way through the city was a lot more of an adjustment than anticipated. She also didn’t expect to grow so fond and deeply attached to the place she called home for a short six weeks. Maggy still holds one safe assumption, that she expects and anticipates the next time she arrives in Germany to revisit the place that so fondly impacted her art, identity, and entire worldview.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges

Our CEE, titled Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges, was a roundtable discussion hosted during the Martin Luther King Jr. events on Carnegie Mellon's campus. In the roundtable discussion, we discussed both global aspects of diverging/merging of cultures and aspects of diversity in general, as well as functions specific to academic and extracurricular life at CMU, and how the two intersect. The event started a dialogue about how diversity affects us individually and the community at large - both in a local and global sense. The discussion was formatted through groups of questions: Stereotypes, Building Community, and Academic Life and Beyond, and Misc. which provided a catch-all for uncatergorizable questions. Our intention was to provide a platform where varying perspectives are encouraged, cultural differences and hybridities can be both celebrated and critically analyzed, and the dynamics of culture can be openly discussed. The event aimed to open a conversation that creates awareness and systemic change that benefits the community, both globally and as locally as our own campus community.