After spending these past two and a half months in Europe, I can safely say my perspective has shifted on the way I view the world. Being able to see each of the individual cultures of the places we went, truly opened my eyes to what else is out there in the world. As
someone who has grown up in Tennessee, and subsequently went to school in-state, it is easy to become so accustomed to the culture right in front of you, and forget the other people that live out in the world.
I studied in Italy, and subsequently traveled across many countries in Europe during my time there. What I most appreciated about Italian and other European culture was how much they valued the arts. As a Graphic Design student traversing through my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I am constantly searching for visual inspiration around me. In Italy, the general population dresses much classier than Americans, with great silhouettes within their outfits.
Modern art and architecture is also much more appreciated, with many modern museums and buildings strung all throughout Europe. Particularly in Milan and Germany, there was a plethora of contemporary buildings that I would stand under and admire. In America, well-designed buildings that capture my attention are a rare sight, outside those in New York City and California. If you are a fellow art student or someone who values art in general I would highly recommend studying in Europe, as it can be a very inspiring experience for other artists and creative people.
One thing I was not aware of before I traveled to Europe was how cheap traveling across countries is. The budget airline RyanAir, provided many fares for under $25 each way. We even went so far as to fly to Africa round trip for $10. Yes, $10. Do your research on airports near the city you are staying in though, as these airlines don’t travel to some main city airports, and rather secondary airports for the cheaper gates. These airlines cut costs as much as possible, and I mean as much as possible. So be aware.
The trains are interestingly enough, not as affordable as the flights, at least in Italy. To combat this we purchased a Eurail pass, which is a down payment upfront, that allows you to have ten unlimited travel days within a two month window. The combination of budget airlines and railway infrastructure allows for getting around the continent super easy, unlike America, where it is virtually impossible to go across states without a car.
My favorite country I spent time in was definitely Italy, as the range of cities and towns is crazy, and each place has its own culture and attitude. My favorite city I visited was Berlin, though, as its contemporary feel with is architecture and club scene was until anything I have ever experienced. Also, just about everyone there is fluent in English, so it felt a lot like home. It is a place I would recommend everyone who studies abroad in Europe to go visit.
John-Everett Helm (BFA Graphic Design) spent Spring 2022 studying abroad in Florence, Italy through a direct enroll at LdM. John-Everett had the following to say about studying abroad, “Study abroad is a life changing experience that all students who are able should do at least once in their life!”
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