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DesignMind: Why International Experience is Essential in Design Education

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International experiences are often considered an “extra” in higher education. In design education, an international experience is essential for graduates to build their careers.

Even if you stay in San Diego after you graduate, you will interact with people from many cultures and in all likelihood will design for people in other countries or with funding from interests outside the United States. Even small firms are practicing around the world, thanks to technology. Employers are looking for people who are internationally savvy.

One of many examples of international opportunities at NewSchool is COMPOSTELAs, which is organized by Tatiana Berger, a faculty member with more than 20 years of international experience. This summer program is an intense three weeks in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, a UNESCO “World Heritage City” known for its architecture. Students attend lectures, tour nearby Galician cities and Porto, Portugal, work with iron and granite with local masters in materials ateliers, and create a design project for the city. In addition to meeting the Mayor of Santiago de Compostela, students visit with the Pritzker-Prize winning architect, Alvaro Siza, in Porto. They also get to see architecture shaped by different cultures, environmental forces, and time periods.

COMPOSTELAs is a fun immersion experience for students, and it may also make them more employable after they graduate.

You can learn more about COMPOSTELAs at an exhibition of student work created during the last trip on Friday, January 13.

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