fbpx Abroad in Baltimore #1 — PCA

Abroad in Baltimore #1


An Introduction & Statement of Purpose

Hello! Nice to meet you, I’m Ariel.

You might recognize me from skulking the halls of PCA, or my tenure as President of Cook Club, but I thought I’d introduce myself as well as outline my goals for this junior year exchange.

I’m a Communication Design student and will be doing my third year abroad in Baltimore at the Maryland Institute College of Art better known as MICA. Through these blog posts I’ll be sharing my study abroad adventures as I experience them, including everything from exploring the city to classes and homework.

As an American citizen, studying “abroad” in my home country seems like an odd choice, especially coming from a happily converted Parisian, but for me MICA presents an amazing opportunity to experiment and explore during my third year and hopefully see a new side of the country I grew up in.

Despite growing up in the US, I’ve never actually attended an American college before. Sure I’ve heard my friends’ accounts and visited a few, but the only college I’ve ever gone to is PCA. As some of you reading this might be considering studying abroad yourself, I thought I’d share a little about my experience and what the process was like for me.

Choosing to study abroad is typically not a decision for the faint of heart. As most reading this have probably experienced the administrative headache that is moving to France, you’ll already know that globe trotting requires a good amount of preparation.

However, as MICA is one of PCA’s exchange partners, the application process was relatively streamlined and I was lucky to have a lot of support on both ends. PCA’s Study Abroad Coordinator Megan Tierney is very helpful and basically held my hand through the entire process, making sure I didn’t miss any deadlines or stress myself out. MICA also has great exchange coordinators and kept me in the loop through every step.

After you’ve conquered the paperwork, then comes the truly hard part: waiting for an answer. A naturally patient person I am not, and the only bit of advice I have for you here is to forget you’ve applied and completely distract yourself. I was fortunate that MICA put me out of my misery sooner rather than later and I could stop anxiously refreshing my email inbox.

Lastly, I thought it would be good to outline some goals I have for my first semester abroad. By the time this semester comes to a close, I’d like to be able to look back and see the progress I will (hopefully) have made.

First, I’d like to improve my fine art and drawing skills. I’ve been wanting to get better at drawing for a while now and illustration has always been an area of interest for me. Hopefully MICA will kick me into gear and help me iron out some solid technical ability I can have fun with.

Second, I want to make friends! While I’m going to miss my longtime pals over at PCA, attending MICA gives me a great opportunity to connect with peers and artists at a new school. The exchange students were introduced to each other online, so it’s really nice to already have a little community before I even walk onto campus.

Third, I’d like to get to know Baltimore. While nothing can replace Paris, I’ve heard that Baltimore also has cool places to explore and I’d love to experience what this new city has to offer. As a foodie and lover of vintage stores, I hope to find fun places to tell you about during my year here.

Student orientation begins this week and I’m a combination of nervous and excited. I think the exchange students will be grouped with the first years, which is fitting as I’ll probably be feeling like one. As excited as I am to be having this new adventure, I will be missing everyone over at PCA. These blog posts will be my way of staying in touch with the PCA community as well as chronicling my time on the other side of the Atlantic.

Good luck to everyone starting the semester!

f t p