Student travel stories

Our Exchange + Travel Study Program students have travelled far and wide to pursue their craft. Read their inspiring and interesting stories and then plan your dream educational trip!

McKenna Prather, PAINTING major for an exchange semester at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland

I was fortunate enough to spend my Fall 2016 Semester studying in the Painting Program at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. This experience was absolutely amazing. I have never travelled overseas before, never mind travelling by myself, so it was certainly an exhilarating and humbling experience. In a five-month period I had boarded 11 different flights. I got to travel throughout the UK and Europe to cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bath, London, and Paris. I also had the opportunity to go to Berlin on a class field trip.  While the benefits of cheap flights were a bonus to studying in the UK, I am truly thankful for the friends that I gained throughout the fall semester.

During my time travelling and living in Glasgow, I spent a lot of time studying what different ethnicities looked like, and trying to label and differentiate the common physical traits within ethnic groups. I ended up devoting many days to sketching people in cafes, and began to come to the conclusion that I was interested in focusing my practice on the physicality and aesthetics of the human body. What spurred this idea to study physical human traits was the feeling of being a minority or stranger within a country and comparing myself to those around me. Travelling helped me discover that social research was a large interest of mine, which I wanted to investigate in my practice.

I could write a novel on how wonderful and enlightening this exchange program was for the growth of my art practice and myself. Especially when first beginning focused research, this program offered so much inspiration to me.

Hayley Barile, Visual Communications Design Major for a semester at Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam Netherlands

In the winter semester of 2017, I represented ACAD on an exchange program at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The projects that were encourage at this school were ones with deep conceptual value and ones that strived to challenge the constructs of society. These projects really pushed for the student to be the primary creator and avoided strict project sheets. This unique schooling structure was challenging at first, but taught me to push my creative boundaries and learn new skills. What I really liked about this school was that they offered open courses for many skills that come in handy for projects ex. Photography, 3D printing, figure drawing etc.

Apart from the school, the best part about the exchange was the opportunity to make friends from all over the world and experience this new culture. This was an experience I will never forget. I have made lifelong friends from every corner of the world and with that I gained new insights and design methods from those locations. During my stay, I visited famous museums in both Rotterdam and Amsterdam (which was only forty minutes away by train). In addition, because the location was in Europe I took day trips to neighboring countries and travelled most of Western Europe during the last two summer months. It has been my pleasure to represent ACAD abroad and the experience has surely been one to remember.

Candace Horsburgh, Sculpture major for a semester of exchange study at Australia National University, Canberra ACT, Australia

I recommend the Exchange & Travel Study program. The experience has had a strong influence on me as a student and artist.

At ANU I became very interested in student life and of course learning as much as I could about sculpture. I enrolled in casting, glass and ceramics, plus an independent class in sculpture. I used resources around the campus. I found a closet and decided to caste the negative space and added a folding compartment of the closet to provide a larger living space. When creating this project, I wanted to consider the size and weight of the object that I would be bringing back with me. Along with drawings and several maquettes I created a closet of found fabrics that enabled me to detach the negative space closet from the actual closet. The concept of transient living, leaving the closet with very little trace of the creation that had been inside, reflected my own existence of the traveler and student at ANU. I have brought the closet back to Canada and plan on displaying it within various contexts.Throughout my semester, I got involved with students and professors and quizzed them about their practice. I interviewed as many students in my class and also students in the Masters and PhD programs. The interviewing was an important part of keeping the memory of this University and the people I interacted with.