Do you walk into a new space and immediately assess the room for its design, flow, or the ambiance created? If you answered yes to any of these, there's a good chance you’re studying interior design! Luckily for you, there are some amazing study opportunities abroad to enhance your learning of this dynamic and ever-changing topic.
There is something to be said for actually traveling to places like Italy or parts of Scandinavia where design innovations are created, generate a buzz, and then become reality. Working with trendsetters in the field and collaborating with passionate designers is a great way to open doors into the industry.
Studying interior design abroad can allow you to work right on the cutting edge of design -- something you simply can’t do sitting at home. That said, there are many great design schools in cities across the globe perfect for those looking to take their interior design game to the next level.
Going overseas to study interior design is an exciting way to gain first-hand experience. Those with a passion for interior design can find a program to study the topic in a way that best suits their unique learning style.
Study Abroad Program
In a traditional study abroad program, students interested in interior design can combine both classes and hands-on experience. Classes help students to develop their knowledge of relevant theories and concepts. At the same time, working on interior design projects allow students to immerse themselves in the practice of interior design.
Working in the field of interior design, students are known to go around observing, collecting, and categorizing design pieces and styles. From buildings to products, there are industry leaders in interior design who want to know the latest trends out there to create better products that cater to a certain style, trend, or buying demographic.
If you're fascinated by the application of interior design, there are plenty of programs where you can dive into discussing the theory of design in a more relaxed and academic setting. Usually, these types of courses can be found in places that are further from global design hubs.
However, these courses still offer you an enriching learning experience since theory greatly informs practice in the field of interior design. Networking is also important in the design space and learning with like-minded individuals in an international setting can be a career advantage down the line.
A research thesis into an aspect of interior design might be for you if there is a specific element of interior design that you wish to dive into. You can travel abroad to study specific styles or themes, to dissect an iconic work or design company, or even to research an influential individual in the field of interior design. The opportunities and topics for research in the field are limitless.
Where to Go
Since there are numerous styles, theories, and applications for interior design, students looking to study interior design abroad can choose between many diverse countries offering exciting programs.
If you’re a fan of Scandinavian minimalist interior design, heading to Denmark would be a dream come true. The Scandinavian use of sleek lines, contrasting yet complementing materials, and a neutral color palette are all signature features of the design style.
The capital city, Copenhagen, is home to The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. The city itself is also full of interior design shops and beautifully-styled cafes where you can immerse yourself in your studies -- both figuratively and literally!
Inspired by rich, natural rural landscapes that meet an innovate urban way of life, Japanese interior design has a complex and fascinating style. Japanese style can be very simple, futuristic, and modern or it can express a more traditional side through contrast, color, and the use of rich patterns.
In either case, the Tokyo Design Academy -- located in the capital city, Tokyo -- is an innovate setting where you can learn about and apply the various influences that comprise elements of Japanese interior design.
Known for its exquisite cuisine, fine wine, and influential thinkers and artists, it should come as no surprise that Italy is a hotspot for studying interior design. While cities like Milan might be known in the fashion world, those influences of art and culture have also influenced interior design.
Next to Milan -- where you can study at the Istituto Marangoni School of Design -- Rome and Florence are also good options to immerse yourself in the use of elaborate frescos, extravagant materials, and the signature use of color in Italian design.
Planning Your Trip
Before heading off on an adventure abroad to study interior design, there are many trip planning details that you should give thought to before you depart.
How to Choose an Interior Design Study Abroad Program
When choosing an interior design study abroad program, there are a variety of factors which you should consider. One of the most important aspects includes finding out which schools or institutions offer accredited programs for studying interior design. Have a look at program ratings or feedback from previous students to help guide your decision, if available.
Another thing to think about is the style of the program since it should suit your learning style and meet your learning objectives. If you are more of a hands-on learner, consider a program that gets you out into the field or constructing decor pieces. If you are more engaged by the theory of design, you might choose more of a class-based program.
Tuition fees, if any, are certainly important to take into account, as is the overall cost of living for the city and country you plan to live/study in. If you are studying as part of a planned exchange with your home institution, be sure to check whether your earned credits count towards your current degree program.
Health & Safety
Before you head abroad, you should contemplate if you are physically and mentally able to travel and study abroad. It’s always a good idea to consult a travel doctor about making sure you have the necessary vaccinations for the country you are traveling to. If you don't speak the local language (but the language of instruction is one that you speak), consider learning a few important words or phrases before leaving so you can navigate and ask locals/authorities for assistance.
You should ask the school or institution about any other need-to-knows when it comes to living in the city/country before departing. Local knowledge can be vital for planning a safe and fulfilling study abroad experience.
Other Need to Knows
There are a few important additional details to consider when studying interior design abroad. Be aware that, while creativity may see no barriers, certain colors, patterns, or symbols may have different -- and potentially negative -- connotations attached to them in the country you are studying in. Before presenting any work or ideas to a greater audience, ask your local instructors or peers to understand any potential offenses your work might create.