Study Abroad: Winter in New York

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Eight hours and thirty minutes. This is how much time I had to spend on the airplane and get used to the fact that everything would be different from now on.

I had to adjust to many new things: living in the dorm, where most of the time you are not alone and where you have to find common ground with people from all over the world; and getting used to the fact that Pratt is quite a big school, where, in the beginning, I thought that I saw non-repeating faces every day. But also, getting used to the fact that Pratt has twenty-eight campuses and working out where each of them is. I had to adjust to six hours time difference with Paris and nine hours with my home.

From the beginning of my journey, I felt very lucky: lucky that I had an opportunity to be in one of the best art and design schools in the world; lucky that I got nice and friendly flatmates; lucky that people here are very helpful and you never feel left out if you have any problem or question.

My first impressions were very overwhelming, since I am used to our small school where everyone knows each other, but in the end I found many interesting people to spend time with or to discuss projects with. It also took me a few weeks to remember where everything was!

When I was first looking into Pratt institute I found that it has its own beautiful park that anyone can visit.  It has lots of big trees, sculptures and many places to sit and work on your projects, read a book, have lunch or just talk with a friend.  In pictures, it looked absolutely charming and peaceful and I could not wait to see it in person. From the end of August throughout September, the weather was warm and sunny most of the time, so many students and families who live nearby were spending their time in this park, having a picnic, watching movies (there is free wifi throughout Pratt institute) or just spending time together while talking or having lunch. Then the fall came and all the yellow and red colours were finally started to overpower and this magical place turned into a golden park. Then, I was fortunate enough to catch the same place covered in snow. At that time I felt like I was in a movie about New York. When there was a strong snowfall my friends and I took the opportunity to go to bigger places like Central Park to see a completely white, magical location, where people suddenly wrapped themselves into their warmest clothes and started to play with snow, ice skate and make their own snow slides while the snow was falling nonstop.

My first semester passed really quickly but I was able to do so many things. I went to museums or new popup shows every week, I went ice-skating in Rockefeller Center, where Christmas songs were playing and there was a big Christmas tree shining with many lights and decorations. I had a chance to visit one of the biggest book fairs in the world at MOMA PS1, where I talked to many publishers and designers. I found the old bookshops that preserve ancient manuscripts and antique books that you can touch and study. I have met a lot of people who are interested in discussing design and art in general, they also hold events, where they talk about the future of design.

But most importantly, the first semester in Pratt helped me to figure out what I am actually interested in, and what path and approach I should take in design. There are still many things to figure out but I believe that I have made a great start. During my time in New York, I have never regretted my choices and accepted the mistakes I made while studying at Pratt. Also, I accepted all the information that we were given by the teachers and design discussions here that opened up my perceptions on the different side of design and how many angles there are to look at. Now, I am curious to see what else the second semester has in store for me and I can’t wait to come back to PCA and apply all of the knowledge that I will gain here at Pratt.

For information on study abroad opportunities email: studyabroad@paris.edu

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