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Andrew Suiter

Junior, Architecture + Civil Engineering (double degree)

From: Des Moines, Iowa

Study abroad semester: Fall 2016 (traveled in October)

Location: Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy


Why did you decide to study abroad and how did you choose the location?

I had heard about the Biennale before and I really wanted to go. When I heard that ISU was sending a contingency, I signed up as soon as I could.


What did you hope to get out of the experience?

A greater sense of the world outside Iowa. Seeing another way of living that is more oriented around water was very interesting.


What were the most important things you learned?

Traveling abroad taught me many lessons in self-sufficiency. I learned how to use public transportation in Venice — a dynamic system composed of water taxis that bring people to their destinations. I learned that going off on your own is equally as valuable as experiencing a place with your friends.


Experiencing the Venice Biennale showed me how architecture is a global endeavor, and dialogue is key between the participants. Traveling to such an exhibition is important for any young architect, because you can see what architects all over the world are doing to bring the profession forward. In a way, the Biennale was a similar experience to reading a very comprehensive journal from cover to cover, but in a much more interactive way.


Did anything surprise you about the experience?

Everyone back home warned me that I’d have to be very careful because of pickpockets, scammers and thieves. My experience showed me that most of the horror stories that your family tells you to get you to stay home are not based in reality. With a few minor precautions and some intuition, I felt safe and protected through my whole trip.


Did studying abroad influence the career you’re interested in?

Studying abroad made me think more deeply about possibly working abroad for part of my life.


What advice would you give other students who are considering studying abroad?

Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path.


February 3, 2017 4:58 pm

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