The required study abroad has been the most exciting addition to the Interior Design program in recent past. Each student in Interior Design is expected to spend the second semester of their third year abroad. ID students are encouraged to choose locations that will expand their horizons and provide distinctly unique additions to their visual language. Students embrace the philosophy of “experiencing a different culture through design eyes.” In recent years students have chosen to study in locations including South Africa, Thailand, Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai, Prague, Cyprus, Argentina, and many countries throughout Europe. Some students have opted for distinctive programs such as Study Abroad at Sea and Amizade Global Service Learning.
Fashion, Dress & Merchandising and Design Studies students are not required to study abroad, but often choose to do so. Disegno Italia, WVU’s signature four-week, six-credit, summer program in Tuscany and Milan, offers an opportunity for faculty-led travel at a time that does not conflict with other coursework. FDM professor Nora MacDonald has provided leadership and written curriculum for this program.
Another exciting opportunity offered to design students is the Bohemian Culture & Design summer program, offering 3 credit hours for completion. This 2-week program is structured to provide students with an enriching, cultural immersion into the capital city of Prague, the Czech Republic, and Slavonice, on the border of Austria. Students will develop new unique work based on cultural points of interest, new techniques learned during the trip, and creative approaches that resonate with their own field of interest. During the two weeks, students will engage in multidisciplinary workshops, studio tours, museum visits, and many more culturally enriching experiences.
Without exception, the abroad experience has a positive impact on our students. Through these experiences, students embrace the philosophy of “experiencing a different culture through design eyes.” They return to us as empowered, self-confident individuals with a greater understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures.