Studying Abroad: What are its merits to an art student?
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    Studying Abroad: What are its merits to an art student?

    I'm presently a student at a state-level university, and have another year left before my final show and graduation with a Bachelor's in art.

    Lately, I'm looking at studying abroad for the first part of my final year - I keep being told it's an opportunity of a lifetime, and I do feel like it is. However, I'm not entirely sure of its merits to me, and what I could really get out of it other than putting new stuff into my brain instead of constantly sitting in the Midwest USA.

    It's a really intriguing, if daunting idea, but there are a few hitches and I wanted to know if anyone could tell me what it's worth to someone focusing in illustration. It's certainly costly, and I would probably graduate late if I did it due to needing to take Italian while over seas. Not to mention I have a job here through the university in one of their galleries.

    So, thoughts?

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    In short....DO IT!

    In Long…..

    Although I can't really relate with the Art School bit....or the merits of it as an art student….mainly since I never went to art school…nor was I an art student....I did in college study abroad for a semester. Back in 2005 I left the smog infested trash heap known as New Jersey for the little piece paradise called Australia. 6 months in Brisbane City really changed my whole life. The thing was...I was in school for Communications/Journalism. My art skills were literally at stick figure levels and I didn't really have much of passion for it at the time. I really just wanted a 6-month vacay down under...so I only took 4 classes...and I saved all my easy elective courses for Australia. Two of those easy classes were Art 101, and Computers 101......the most basic entry level courses you can take. The Art class was very basic...a little life drawing....some scenery....overall it was a very fun class. Now the Computer class taught me how to use Corel Photo-Paint and Corel Draw....which are kind of like Photoshop Alternatives. Both classes required a semester end project that was very open in what you can do....so being the lazy American....I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone... and basically used Corel Photo Paint to color and add word balloons to a 3-page Comic Strip I drew (about Evil Clowns of all thing)....which I could present as my final project for both classes. The plan worked flawlessly and I got a High Distinction (A+ in OZ) in both classes.

    Only thing was.....I really enjoyed doing it....I was still down under a few more months after classes ended....and I just kind of kept doing it for fun. Creating these little evil clown characters causing mayhem....it was stupid ideas & had really horrible art but I had a blast doing it; Drawing by hand, scanning it, and coloring via my laptops trackpad. Once I returned to the US....I still kept on doing it. It kind of put me on the path to where I am now. Still Freelance/hobbyist.....but my skills are far superior. I went from using my trackpad....to an Intuos...to numerous Tablet PCs, and now to a Cintiq. I attend life drawing classes regularly....I draw everywhere and all sorts of things.

    But 8 years back when I first left....I didn't have any remote passion for making artwork.

    I guess the bigger point I'm trying to make is that.....Studying....heck living Abroad....can open you up to different things. You look at things differently....new experiences can inspire you....etc

    And I take it by your Learning Italian comments...you plan on studying in Italy.

    Europe is a Mecca for Creativity. Even if you’re going to be living in Italy....Europe is so easily connected via trains and flights....you can easily visit a different country every weekend (money permitting). All the world renowned museums you can visit...the incredible architecture you can see first-hand....Europe will greatly inspire you and most likely have an influence on your work.
    Studying abroad does have one drawback…It can expose you to the financially ruining travel bug. I got bit in Australia……and since then I can never really seem to save that much money….but I have thus far been to 43 cities in 28 countries over the past 8 years (20 of those countries are in Europe). The bug bite is kind of itching me towards Southeast Asia this year….another bunch of countries to add to my ever growing tally at the expense of my savings account.

    But between the lifelong friendships you’ll make…and the experiences you’ll have…you will not regret it. Just this past summer I went to Germany to attend a Wedding of a friend of mine. He's from Germany and we were housemates in Australia and over the years he’s traveled to the US a few times and crashed with me…and equally a few times I traveled to Germany and crashed with him for a few days. Just how cool is that…being able to attend a foreign wedding for a friend you met in a different foreign country.

    No Art, No traveling…..my life would be so boring if I didn’t do that Study abroad so many years back.

    So back to my short answer….do it!

    the Debt will be worth it.

    Last edited by darkmagistric; January 15th, 2013 at 11:37 PM.
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