Cultural Exchange with Pakistan Continues

BAC welcomes second cohort of faculty and students from NCA-Rawalpindi

Photo by Janna Atcheson

In September, the Boston Architectural College's Design Studies program welcomed the second cohort of exchange students and faculty from the National College of Arts (NCA)-Rawalpindi, Pakistan. The four Pakistani students and faculty member, Khalid Ibrahim, arrived on campus for the Fall 2015 semester as part of a three-year partnership made possible by a grant from the Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy, Islamabad, Pakistan.

The grant was awarded to the BAC and its Historic Preservation program to develop the historic preservation curriculum at NCA-Rawalpindi. For this development to be successful, the partnership aims to serve as an exchange of information, knowledge, and experiences. By spending time in Boston, the Pakistani students and faculty will use what they learn to help develop the NCA-Rawalpindi's historic preservation courses, syllabi, research, workshops, and capacity of faculty.

This fall, Khalid, the visiting faculty member from NCA-Rawalpindi, spent much of his time shadowing and observing BAC faculty as he worked on developing the course that he plans to implement at NCA. He learned by attending classes, particularly Heritage Documentation in the BAC's Bachelor of Design Studies, Historic Preservation program. Through this class, Khalid participated in a workshop session on photogrammetry, a digital documentation technique used by preservation architects that he will now introduce to the architecture curriculum at NCA.

"The Boston Architectural College was open and friendly from the beginning," said Khalid. "I was able to get involved in everything, which was made possible by the great teamwork at the BAC. All of the people here, whether directly or indirectly related to the work I am doing, are absolutely wonderful. We made friends from day one."

For 10 days in November, Khalid participated in an onsite training of online course development, led by Tim Ogawa, Chief Information Officer at the BAC. Kahlid organized the coordination of the instructional design workshop, which was hosted at the BAC, and identified the right people from NCA to join.

In addition to course development, Khalid worked very closely with the four NCA students who were studying at the BAC. They all observed, attended, and contributed to the studios and reviews. Throughout the semester, the students were proud to share their work with Khalid and their BAC peers and faculty, and they experienced tremendous personal and academic growth.

Since this is a cultural exchange, extracurricular activities are a part of the education. Khalid and the students spent time learning Boston's transportation system, exploring the different neighborhoods, and observing the city's rich history. They also had the chance to travel to Washington D.C. for a preservation conference, which helped them understand more about conservation, heritage, and policies in the United States. Other trips included Newport, RI; Salem, MA; New York; and Chicago.

The cohort from NCA will be bringing back new knowledge and skills with them overseas. From photogrammetry to 3D modeling to laser cutting and more, Khalid and his four students are eager to share what they learned and teach others as Pakistan develops and grows its technological resources.

"The relationship my students and I have developed with the BAC is the real essence of partnership," Khalid concluded. "It is not only about gaining knowledge and achievements, but also about immense cultural exchange. The friendship that our two schools have formed has crossed barriers and we are now a family. Even when we go back, we will remain close and will serve as ambassadors for the BAC and the United States."

Khalid would like to thank Dr. Murtaza Jafry, principal at NCA; Dr. Nadeem Omar, director at NCA Pindi; Don Hunsicker, Dragana Kovacevic, and Eleni Glekas from the BAC's School of Design Studies; and all of the BAC's faculty and staff, who made his experience one to remember.