Student and Alumni Spotlights

Blake Anderson MCRP '19

by Cecile deLaurentis MPP/MCRP ’20   

Blake Anderson, MCRP ’19 concentrated in Transportation and Land Use during his time at the Bloustein School. He chose to intern at the Taipei City Government Urban Renewal Office in 2018, and worked and lived in Taipei for the summer. As part of his internship he engaged in urban renewal strategy sessions, helped plan urban redevelopment zones, visited urban renewal sites in the process of redevelopment, and performed other duties such as translation.

Blake, who is fluent in Mandarin, said his experience was both educational and professional: “I had to get immersed in the planning environment, learn professional terms in Mandarin, and figure out how to navigate that space.” He had the opportunity to attend a press event and meet the vice mayor of Taipei, and was invited to give a presentation at tge conclusion of his internship–in Mandarin–about the role of non-governmental think tanks in the U.S. Despite the challenges of doing an internship in another language, he said “One of the most interesting takeaways was seeing how a different society’s approach to fundamental planning questions reframed their projects’ outcomes.”

Classes at Bloustein helped provide Blake with the theoretical framework and quantitative skills to succeed as an intern; in turn, the internship influenced how he approached his concentration. “Before, I approached planning as more a prescriptive practice, as though I were a problem-solver. But my internship experience taught me that it’s equally important to listen and to empower communities to make calls for themselves.”

Blake encourages students interested in interning abroad to take the leap of faith. “There are amazing professors at the Bloustein School who are internationally connected, who are more than willing to help you identify and pursue international opportunities.”