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Study abroad experiences bring new perspectives

Every year College of Design students journey abroad to live in and experience other cultures, returning with new perspectives about how to solve problems and about their own place in the world as global citizens. As one student put it, "If one is open-minded, there are many ways to devise a solution" to a design problem. All of the students described here have received private funds that helped support their education and made study abroad possible. For instance, John Steingraeber has received support from the KKE-Ron Krank Vision Fellowship and from the Sullivan Family Fellowship.

Four College of Design students describe their study abroad experiences here.

 

Shona Mosites
BS Interior Design
Hometown: Cottage Grove, Minnesota
Program: May term in Paris, France

Shona lived in Paris for a month and studied Gothic architecture. "This was my first time traveling abroad on my own. Paris is somewhere I've always wanted to go. It was hard to focus on homework while in a city like Paris, knowing all that was going on around me."

In her Gothic architecture class, she focused on furniture, preparing her for her upcoming history of furniture class.

 

John Steingraeber sketchbookJohn Steingraeber
Master of Architecture
Hometown: LaCrosse, Wisconsin
Program: May term in Istanbul, Turkey, with architecture faculty member Ozayr Saloojee

"This drawing course focused on the clash between tradition and modernity in Istanbul, a city that provided incredible inspiration for graphite, ink, and watercolor representation. Each day at 6 p.m., just after the call to prayer, our group would reconvene in the courtyard of Sultanahmet, Istanbul's famed Blue Mosque, and lay out our drawings and sketchbooks and discuss techniques, opportunities, and the events of the day.

"These days, an American traveling in a Muslim country has much to ponder. I was consistently awestruck at how the great mosque architect Sinan used the power of empty space to create real presence."

 

Carey MagnusCarey Magnus
BS Apparel Design
Hometown: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Program: semester at Accademia Italiana, Florence, Italy, with students from other American and European universities

Fashion, Magnus said, is universal: found in every culture, every language, and every country. "At Accademia Italiana, a school across from the Pitti Palace in Florence, I took a tailoring studio and studied collection theory, 20th-century fashion history, and Italian language and literature. These classes helped strengthen my skills as a designer, showing me there are many ways to approach a problem."

 

Samantha FungSamantha Fung
BS Retail Merchandising, Management
Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
Program: International Education of Students Abroad, Milan, Italy

"I studied in the IES program in Milan, the center of industrial and fashion design and business in Italy. The courses I took exposed me to the entire spectrum of design through field trips, speakers, and design exhibitions. I also was a part-time intern at the United States General Consulate in the department of public affairs. Although I had hoped for a design-related internship, I learned it was possible to apply design skills and knowledge in any workplace. I also tutored two students in English and built strong relationships with them and their families. Living and studying abroad stretched me and challenged my own personal independence, self-awareness, and appreciation of differences."

 

Funding study abroad

Although the University works hard to make experience abroad programs affordable, travel inevitably adds to a student's financial burden. Generous donors who provide scholarship or fellowship support help make such programs attainable. As tuition continues to rise, private support becomes important.

Scholarships and fellowships provide critical support to College of Design students. To make a gift for student support or to establish a named fund, please contact Sue Danielson Bretheim, interim director of development, 612-624-1386 or danie002@umn.edu.