Nekane is a visiting student at PCA, from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico. She originally came for one semester but after a very successful first semester she decided to extend her study abroad experience to a full academic year. She tells us how things have been going.
What drew you to Paris College of Art for your study abroad experience?
Besides the obvious attraction of studying in the city of Paris, I wanted to go to a school where I could be more creative. Back home I study industrial design and there are not so many opportunities to be creative within my program. I was also attracted by the international atmosphere at PCA, and the fact that there are students from all over the world. I liked the fact that you could pick and choose the classes you wanted to take from across different departments.
Has your experience so far met your expectations?
Yes. In all my classes, including theory classes, we are encouraged to think for ourselves. All the projects you do are completely individual, in the sense that you do not need to do the same as all your classmates. At my home school all of the students in my major have exactly the same schedule but here at PCA I have been able to take classes in different departments that are not necessarily linked to my major. ‘Studio Concepts’ is one of the classes that has allowed me to explore areas that are completely new to me. The class ‘Primitivism’, in the Liberal Studies department, is also one I would not usually be able to take. It has been great to be able to take theory classes alongside studio classes.
The relationship between students and teachers is very different here too. There is not the same hierarchy; teachers are more on a level with you. This means that you can say whatever you want in classes, but it also means you have to have much more self-discipline, as they are not constantly checking up on you to make sure you attend class, etc.
I have been able to take advantage of being in Paris to travel during my time here. So far I have been to London, Amsterdam, Madrid and I am going to Morocco for spring break.
What made you decide to extend to the full year study abroad program after initially planning to do one semester?
Originally I applied to do one semester as I didn’t know what it would be like, whether it would be useful to me on my return to my home school or whether it would just be a long break. As it turns out I am learning so much here and it is all knowledge I can apply when I go back home. It has also been so easy to make friends here. Everyone is international and living a new experience so they are more open to meeting new people.