MDES 00 – Orientation between Crêpes, Monet and a bunch of hungry newbies

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Sooo, what is it, that you actually do? Is usually people’s reaction when you tell them you study Design for Social Impact. Even though we got used to irritated facial expressions, we still have a hard time answering this question properly. We could find an academic definition for the term Design for Social Impact. We could also write a manifesto. We may do that, but for now we decided to do a weekly blog about, well, about what it is, that we actually do. So enjoy and sneak peak in our world!

Representing 54 different nationalities, students hail from the Faroe Islands in the North to South Africa in the South, Costa Rica in the West and Kazakhstan in the East. Among all this international student body the pilot class of MDES (Master of Design for Social Impact) consists of 7 world changers from various geographical and disciplinary backgrounds: Vaila from Scotland and Textile Design, Rica(rdo) from Brazil and Creative Planning and Communication, SMarti from Spain/U.S. and Graphic Design as well as a former diplomat, Amy from the U.S. and Youth Development, Yara from Lebanon and Arts and Interior Planning/Design, Khadija from Pakistan and Graphic Design and Photography and Hanna from Germany and Media Design. So, voilà, this is us!

Orientation week is not only about getting to know each other, but also about this magnifique city we are now living in: Paris! Students are taken on a guided tour at Musée des Arts Décoratifs about Dior: the story of Monsieur Christian Dior himself, “the New Look” and the art directors who carried his torch till today. Musée de l’Orangerie used to provide shelter to Parisian citrus fruits during winter but now contains art pieces from modern artists such as Douanier Rousseau, de Modigliani, Picasso, Matisse and Soutine. The tour not only provides students with wisdom of Impressionism, but also with historical gossip of these famous names before ending in the well known oval hall with the enormous Nymphéas (water lillies) by Claude Monet.

Along with administrative information sessions the newbies also get a lecture on how to stay safe in Paris: Do not stare at people in the Metro. Keep your belongings with you. Avoid dodgy areas by night. Do not take drugs. Make every person you take a picture of sign a model release. The majority of us know how to handle a big city so no problem there. But the most concerning part of our new life is the attendance policy: 3 missed classes results in a failed course. 15 Minutes late to a class counts as unattended as well. Way scarier than any pick-pocketer. So better set a backup alarm – or two or three…

Besides an international network, inspiring faculty and passion for one’s discipline, there is also that one thing, that brought all of us to Paris: Crêpes! Alors: bon appétit, meet, greet and mingle. Bienvenue à Paris!