Graphic Design Study Abroad Guide
Why study abroad?
College of Design International Programs provide personal, academic and professional benefits that will extend far beyond your last day abroad. Studying abroad will help you to become more independent and flexible, to develop problem-solving and leadership skills, to increase your creativity and confidence, and to handle stressful situations better.
Depending on the program you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to study with College of Design faculty members and/or distinguished local lecturers. You can fulfill degree requirements while seeing the world. Museums, galleries, buildings, outdoor spaces and monuments abroad will become your classroom as you explore first hand what you’ve been learning about in textbooks here in Ames.
Many of our programs also emphasize links with local universities and professionals through studio visits, guest lecturers and workshops. In addition, studying abroad can also help you to develop dynamic portfolio pieces that will set you apart from other job applicants.
What types of programs are available?
The College of Design features three types of international programs to help you fulfill your goal of studying abroad.
Since 1991, more than 2,000 students have studied in Rome through the College of Design’s flagship international program — the first fully licensed study-abroad program in the Iowa regents’ system. Full-semester study options are available for graphic design, interior design, integrated studio arts and BA students each fall, and for architecture, community and regional planning and landscape architecture students each spring. The summer program offers classes for industrial design students. Students attend classes at our studio facilities in the historic center of Rome at Palazzo Cenci-Bolognetti, a 16th-century building located in the Piazza delle Cinque Scole near the Tiber River.
The College of Design offers a variety of short-term programs throughout the academic year that are led by College of Design faculty members. Some programs are major-specific and others are open to all majors in the college. Time abroad ranges from five days to five weeks, and students earn between two and four ISU credits depending on the program.
Some majors in the college have agreements that allow students to study for a semester or an academic year at a partner institution abroad where classes are normally taught in English. Exchange programs are limited to smaller numbers of students (usually two per semester) and provide the additional advantages of a more independent experience abroad with a higher level of cultural immersion. Students pay ISU tuition and fees when participating, and credits are transferred back to ISU from the host institution. Students from the partner institution will travel to Ames to study while ISU students are abroad.
What is available in 2019-2020 for Graphic Design majors?
College of Design Rome Program: Graphic Design majors participate in the program during the fall of the fourth year. During this semester, you will be able to fulfill degree requirements, including studio (ArtGR 470), studio option (ArtGR 475 or ArtGR 484), art history (Art H 492) and an ArtIS studio.
Short-Term Faculty-Led Option
Graphic Design in Europe: This study abroad program provides you with exposure to the design practices of renowned design firms in several European countries. The tour focuses on studio visits in major cities, and through these meetings you will observe how differences in culture, nationality, expertise and design philosophy all contribute to the huge variety of design work produced across Europe. While traveling in and between the cities, you will be expected to make observations of the role that graphic design plays in public and commercial space; this includes the interpretive signs you might find at tourist sites and the wayfinding sign systems you encounter in transit systems.
There are currently no exchange options offered by the College of Design for Graphic Design majors, but don’t worry, we are working on some future possibilities!
When can I go abroad?
Year 1 – Core program
Participants in College of Design study abroad programs must be accepted into their program of study because our programs are usually major-specific. In addition, you should have a certain amount of knowledge about your major before you travel abroad to study it. However, it’s never too early to start thinking about studying abroad and start saving money for an experience after you are accepted into a program of study.
After you have been accepted into your program of study, you can focus more on exploring options specific to your major, and you can establish a savings plan to help finance your experience abroad.
College of Design Rome Program: Take Dsn S 301 in the spring of your third year. You will submit your ISUAbroad application for the program during Dsn S 301.
Graphic Design in Europe: Apply at ISUAbroad before the application deadline, which is normally in January before the program starts in May. If you are accepted to participate, you will take ArtGR 494 in the spring of your third year.
Fall semester: Participate in the College of Design Rome Program
Can I afford to study abroad?
A study abroad experience may be more affordable than you think! Consider the study abroad options for your major as soon as possible and start saving money. Even putting $50 or $100 into a savings account each month can make a big difference. Scholarships from the College of Design, Iowa State University and independent entities are available at the links below. You can also use financial aid to fund a study abroad experience. The Office of Student Financial Aid will receive a list of students committed to participate in a study abroad program, and each student’s aid will be adjusted to assist with the expenses listed in the program budget.
College of Design scholarships (search by major or by study abroad)
For questions about study abroad financial aid, please contact Tiffany Wood in the Office of Student Financial aid.
What is the application process?
All ISU students interested in studying abroad need to create an application for their chosen program through ISUAbroad. The program links above will take you directly to ISUAbroad program brochures where you can learn more about each program and start your application, which will be completed in two parts. Each program’s application asks for different information, but in general, you must complete all signature documents, questionnaires and learning content in both application parts. After you submit the first part of your application, the faculty member leading the program and/or the college’s international programs coordinator will review it. If you are accepted to participate, you will be asked to formally commit to your offer at ISUAbroad. There will then be a second part of the ISUAbroad application to finish prior to departure.
Are there any other international options available?
College of Design students may also participate in programs offered through other colleges, the ISU Study Abroad Center or non-ISU programs. A searchable database of all programs is available here. If you want to explore other options, you will need to investigate with your academic advisor and your department how courses may or may not meet ISU degree requirements. ISU will not automatically accept transfer credit from all institutions, and a review of your work completed abroad may be required for the department to approve credit transfer.
Who can I talk to if I have questions?