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Department of

Industrial Design

Anna Olinger

Senior, Industrial Design

From: Salem, South Dakota

Study abroad semester: Spring 2016 (February – June)

Studied abroad at: Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand


Why did you decide to study abroad?

I wanted to get out of the Midwest and feel the thrill of a new place, to get a different perspective of how industrial design is taught and to have fun!


How did you choose the location?

I was initially looking at going to Europe, but after a conversation with an ISU faculty member I began searching for places that I would be less likely to visit after college. Massey University had an incredibly nice design school with amazing spaces to find your creativity, was affordable and provided the outdoor activities I was looking for.


What did you study while in New Zealand?

I took three courses: Product Development, Brand Communication and Designing Science Fiction. The Designing Science Fiction course was my favorite because we got to see what goes into Sci-Fi prop making. It was cool to see the abstraction that goes into the work and how Sci-Fi is different from fantasy. The abstract thinking was different from anything I would have been exposed to at ISU.


What was a highlight of your experience?

Being spontaneous with travel plans. I went alone, but I met other Americans there and we traveled in small groups across New Zealand. Hitchhiking was approved of and pretty common and I met so many interesting people this way. It was cool seeing how other people from different parts of the world think differently. A group of us completed a 12-mile hike to Ruapehu Mountain (Mt. Doom), a film location for “The Lord of the Rings,” with little pre-planning and it was really affordable.


What did you learn about yourself?

The unknown is more exciting than daunting now. It helped me grow tenfold from who I was before I left. Going abroad has made me feel like I could have a job anywhere. In addition, it helped me see that prioritizing your personal goals makes you a better student. Grades and classes aren’t everything; it’s important to strive for personal and academic growth in life.


What advice would you give others who are considering studying abroad?

Do it. Even if you 20% want to go, you do it.

November 29, 2016 2:19 pm

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