Yifan with the GAC team in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Honors Internship Grant supported my work with the General Architecture Collaborative (https://ga-c.squarespace.com/), a non-profit architecture office based in Kigali, Rwanda. I was in Rwanda for a month, investigating the sites and helping with an urban informal settlement upgrade project. I was able to talk with local architects and residents and experience local culture, in addition to working in the office.

Professor Yutaka Sho played a vital role throughout this opportunity. She co-founded the office General Architecture Collaborative and generously offered me a chance to work with her. She and the other principal, James Setzler, guided me on my travel to Africa.

I was surprised by how welcoming and supportive people there were. I established friendships with my colleagues at the office and the local residents on the site. I also gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about the architecture industry in Kigali, Rwanda.

I will continue to work with GAC online, as I am studying in London this semester. I will also continue my research about informal settlements in Rwanda throughout the academic year. In the future, I might do an undergraduate thesis relating to Rwandan architecture.

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