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Architecture in Europe : Reviews (Aix-en-Provence)

The following program review responses have been selected for publication by Study Abroad & Global Engagement
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Summer 2012 Participant
My favorite part of this program was being able to fully immerse myself in the cultures. By the end of the trip, I felt as if I had a good grip on the cities we visited and the way the locals lived.

 

Amanda Lynn Moore, Summer 2012 Participant
The most important aspect of traveling abroad for architectural students, is the ability to see how other cultures address the natural and built environment firsthand. This experience will forever change the way I design.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
The Berlin portion of the trip was very well organized and I enjoyed the workload assigned to us. The Sony center as well as the Olympiastadion were my favorite places that we visited. The cultural aspect of studying abroad is something that after going, I feel that everyone should experience it sometime in their life.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
The day to day schedule as a group was exciting in every city, but the best part was having free time to explore the city, or experience a building, on your own. I became much more familiarized with each city on a personal level because I had to navigate via map and learn the public transportation routes on my own instead of relying on the professor to show us how to get somewhere. It also allowed for interesting conversations with the group as we would discuss what everyone saw and what they recommended others to see.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
I enjoyed the consistent schedule that was usually jam-packed with places to learn about and visit. Even when their were free days, I enjoyed the opportunity to see a location depending on my preference for the experience.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part was the fact that we were always on the move. We were always walking around the cities when the weather was at its best in the summer instead of sitting in a classroom, listening to a professor lecture. I can always look at photos of these pieces of architecture whenever I'm at home, but it's a special thing to actually walk straight up to the building.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was visiting Florence, Italy and Ljubjiana, Slovenia. I loved being able to walk everywhere and experience the culture throughout the city!

 

Sarah Kayle Irby, Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was that we were able to visit so many different places that were so different from each other. Because of this I was able to easily compare and contrast the different locations and get a good overview of each country.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
I loved seeing the city of Ljubljana. I had not heard much about the city before the trip and did not expect to much from it, but once there I loved everything about it.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
I loved being able to see so many diverse cities so quickly while also feeling like we stayed just long enough to understand the feel and flow of daily life in the city.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The best part about this program was the opportunity to travel to multiple countries so that I really felt like I got a diverse and enriching experience.

 

Mitchell J Starrs, Summer 2017 Participant
The northern cities, Ljubljana, Vienna, and Prague, were the best part. You always think of Italy as this amazing place, but those three cities were by far my favorite of the 6 cities.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
Experiencing the buildings we have spent so many years studying was very rewarding.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
Being on site in dense European cities really made me understand the differences and opportunities regarding architecture, especially in an international context.

 

Summer 2014 Participant
I found being able to interact in public spaces and analyzing their use was most effective. Shannon, our instructor for the second half of the trip really pushed us to figure out why a public space was integrated in places and how people use them differently.

 

Shelby C Hartman, Summer 2015 Participant
The element I found to be most rewarding was the tours we took in which our tour guide really bonded with us (i.e. telling us how they once wanted to be an architect, or simply being very fluent in English). It really allowed us to pay attention and take in more information on each tour.

 

Brittany C Hediger, Summer 2015 Participant
I found the buildings, structures, and places we visited to be the most rewarding aspect of the trip. You do not realize how much architectural history you are missing out on at home until you are face-to-face with thousands of years of architectural triumphs in Europe.

 

Summer 2016 Participant
Some of the most rewarding elements involved being able to meet remarkable architects that I have not previously heard of on a regular basis, but have as much success as some of the architects discussed in previous courses.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
Everyone in our group was in the same boat, and it was a first experience for all of us. We all knew some people in the group coming in, but nobody knew all. By the end of the trip, we were able to joke around with one another and, in my opinion, we gained lifelong friends out of it because of how close everyone becomes when they spend an entire month together.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The cultural experience was the most rewarding part for me. I really enjoyed being able to communicate with people from other countries and understand how they live day-to-day.

 

Sarah Kayle Irby, Summer 2017 Participant
The elements of the program that I felt were most rewarding were the amazing museums, building tours, bike and walking tours. I loved having a native guide who knew and lived the culture tell us about its history. I would not be able to have the same in depth experience of a city without the help of other people.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
I was amazed by all of the churches and cathedrals we saw. There was so much detail in all of the buildings that we saw.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding aspect was being able to have so much free time to wander around and truly explore the city and not feel constrained to the program.

 

Mitchell J Starrs, Summer 2017 Participant
The free days were the best, though you have to be motivated to take advantage of them. Don't sit around in the hotel or take it easy, push yourself to be just as active as when you are on an itinerary. Kayaking the river in Ljubljana was a highlight.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
I learned that there are many things as an American that I take for granted and there are alternative ways of doing things than what I've grown up with. Being in Europe gave me a new perspective on ordinary things in my everyday life.

 

Summer 2013 Participant
Don't always take pictures. Instead, look for ways to sketch and analyze buildings in ways that cannot be explained through pictures. It definitely helps you connect more with the building and allows you to get the most out of your experience abroad.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
Packing light is always a good idea because you will want to bring home so many things, so leave room for purchases. Also, laundry is such a tough thing to come by, and it's usually very expensive, that it's VERY BENEFICIAL to bring things such as laundry detergent, clothes pins, a clothes line, etc. I only brought laundry detergent, but having something to hang your clothes will be helpful and save you something like 2 or 3 days of drying time.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
Take every opportunity to sketch because its much better to do it in the moment than try to do it once back in the US

 

Summer 2017 Participant
I learned that you have to be open to trying new experiences and meeting people who may or may not be able to relate to you.

 

Sarah Kayle Irby, Summer 2017 Participant
One thing I learned on this program that would be helpful to future students is to make sure to put your phone down sometimes and just be present in the culture you are experiencing. Do not experience through your cell phone screen.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
Keep an open mind to everything that is suggested for you to do. This is the way to learn the most as well as have the best time.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
When studying abroad make sure to pack lightly, prepare to hand wash your clothes, drink lots of water, not be afraid to try learning and speaking the native language, not expect air conditioning, bring an empty camera memory card, and most importantly prepare to walk and climb tens of thousands of steps a day.

 

Mitchell J Starrs, Summer 2017 Participant
Tracing my chosen theme through the six cities was fun. The various cultural and social influences on the theme were subtle in some ways and obvious in others.

 

Melissa Leeann Watson, Summer 2018 Participant
I learned so much not only about the culture of these countries, but also about myself. It was my first time traveling abroad and I gained much more confidence in myself, but also increased my awareness of the history and future of architecture in our world.

 

Kristen Phillips, Summer 2019 Participant
Always take some time on your own to visit places and sketch. A lot of the time, the tours were very fast paced, which didn't leave anytime to sketch. It would have been nice to have more time to sketch the sites that we saw in person instead of drawing from pictures. Also, don't be afraid to try new things and explore on your own. I found many hidden gems when I traveled with my small friend group outside of the planned activities.