Tracy Burnett majors in City Planning at MIT, but wanted to extend her conceptual knowledge of the growth and decay of cities to the growth and decay of the environment around them. Xining was the perfect place for Tracy, offering access to various desertifying regions within one or two days’ drive. It was with technical support from GlacierWorks, local mentorship from Qinghai Nationalities University (supported by this MISTI-China Fung Scholarship), and continuous scientific review from my former instructors of MIT’s D-Lab Biodiversity course that Tracy was able to establish herself in Xining. "Practically speaking," Tracy says, "this research internship in Xining has provided me with an outlet for my passion for environmental protection, a lease on a good apartment, a permanent future teaching job, integration into Chinese academic society, and substantial language improvement. This internship allowed me to permanently relocate across the world in a city that I knew very little about, and whose employment opportunities are scarcely advertised beyond city limits." Tracy explains that she's developed a strong sense of belonging to both the physical city and its local and foreign communities.