Alumni Spotlight: Isabelle Trad


Isabelle Trad (20 years old) is a third year film and video major at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, MD. She was born in the United States but spent most of her childhood in Beirut, Lebanon. She was educated in the French system and attended the French International School in Bethesda, Maryland, after leaving Lebanon in 2006.

What was the best place you visited outside of your study abroad city?

Isabelle: Vienna would definitely be top on the list of my favorite cities. The beautiful old architecture that surrounds you makes you feel like you've been transported to a different century.

In my opinion, Vienna is one of the most elegant and dreamlike cities that I have ever visited. There is a nice similarity between Vienna and Prague, Prague being a little more young and hip, but both have a wonderful taste of romance and history.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

Isabelle: As a film student, the production at FAMU in Prague was every filmmaker’s dream. The program consisted in writing, producing and finalizing a short movie with the help of professional teacher s and students in a professional environment.

The experience exposed me to the reality of the production world , as well as the excitement and difficulty of it. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity so early on in my studies at home, but after experiencing it, I believe it has opened my eyes to my future choices.

Tell us about anything interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country.

Isabelle: On the tram, and mostly everywhere, I found the Czech people to be quiet and reserved, which made it easy to point out the tourists! The Czechs have a strong cultural history, and everywhere you walk, you can hear classical music coming from their windows. They also have a particular sense of humor... and they love their beer!

Do you think your program changed you as a person?

Isabelle: Definitely! Since my return to the US, I feel like a different person. I felt that I matured tremendously during my semester in Prague. Being far away from a routine that I was used to has helped me concentrate more on my work and on myself. I now have new priorities with a greater dedication and energy towards my work.

Describe a goal you set and how you went about accomplishing it.

Isabelle: Before starting the program, I had promised myself, and everyone that wouldn't be there with me, that I would keep a diary. Throughout my stay, I collected every single item I could of every place I visited, traveled to, etc. I wrote down the best events and the most exciting things that I experienced each day as well as the whole process of the film production, step by step.

Today, now that it is all put together and glued down, I am so happy that I did it from the beginning to the end. It includes every moment of the wonderful experience I had abroad. The manual/book aspect of the diary keeps it personal but can be shared, in a somewhat old fashioned way, with others that weren't there with me.