PCA sits down with Study Abroad at PCA student Ida Otterstrøm to discuss living abroad, user-centered design and friendly Parisians.
Where are you from and what do you study?
I’m from KEA – Copenhagen School of Design and Technology. At PCA, I’m studying Communication Design, but I’m also taking quite a few classes in the Design Management department. At KEA, I’m majoring in Digital Concept Development.
What made you want to study abroad in Paris?
I have been on exchange before in Dublin and learned about the program through our (partner school) international exchange coordinator at our school. However, I already knew that I wanted to study in Paris and was familiar with PCA.
My boyfriend lives here and I really like the city. I’ve known for a long time that I’ve wanted to work someone else besides Denmark and I thought this would be a great opportunity to try out living and studying in another city.
I was also attracted to the fact that it was an American school because I wanted a truly anglophone experience.
How has your academic experience been different from your studies at KEA?
The schedule has been really different from what I’m used to at KEA. At KEA, we don’t have set classes, we just come in everyday from 9-14h and follow a program set by our instructor.
Although the classes I’m taking correspond really well with my degree back home, the teachers approach the subject matter from a different angle, so it’s shed fresh light on what I’m doing and given me a new perspective.
Tell us about one of your favorite classes
I really enjoy the Human Centered Design class I’m taking with Alessandro Catania. Although it’s things that I have studied before, the teacher really goes into a lot of detail and approaches the subject really thoroughly. After taking this class, I really have the feeling that I will know a lot about user-centered research, which is something so fundamental to design.
How have you been adjusting to life in Paris?
Not speaking French has been the most challenging—although the language barrier is not necessarily a problem for me, it’s definitely an adjustment and the thing that I think about the most.
Paris is much, much bigger than Copenhagen, but I really like that. In Copenhagen you cannot even go grocery shopping without running into someone you know.
Maybe it’s just because I’m new here, but I feel like there are endless opportunities and endless things to do here.
Also, some people say that French people are rude and arrogant, but that hasn’t been my experience! Everyone has been really helpful and nice so far.
Any advice for students looking to study abroad in Paris?
If you are considering studying abroad, you should just do it! It’s been a really good experience so far and I really think you get a lot out of it.
Learn a little French before coming here! Knowing basic French is so helpful in everyday situations.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be interning in Paris this summer and writing my thesis, so I’m here to stay for a while.