Global Experience

A program requirement for all RIT Master of Architecture students is the completion of an international global experience and provides a first hand opportunity to learn about cultural differences and similarities, as well as to experience the differences in architectural practice in different areas of the world. All RIT Architecture students will spend a semester or part of one summer or winter intersession engaged in architecture-related work and/or study abroad. RIT offers a number of international opportunities to RIT Architecture students, and in addition through affiliation with other universities and organizations (University at Buffalo, Alfred State, DIS, Syracuse), students may study in western Europe, India, China, and South Korea.

RIT Architecture students are eligible to participate in a summer study abroad program in Copenhagen, Denmark. This program is run in conjunction with DIS. Find out more.

Through an arrangement with Syracuse University, RIT Architecture students are eligible to participate in architecture programs offered at Syracuse centers in London and Florence.

Through an arrangement with Alfred State College, RIT Architecture students are eligible to participate in study abroad programs offered in Italy. Find out more.

Further opportunities include RIT faculty-led programs in Germany (Dessau and Marburg), Paris, and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Find out more.

Goals of RIT Architecture Global Experience

  1. For the student to become immersed in a significantly different culture than their own so as to develop a sensitivity to that culture.
  2. For the student to study a foreign culture in order to understand how the vernacular architecture is a result of the culture’s influences on form (history, culture, geography, religion, society, etc.).
  3. The overarching goal of the requirement is to encourage RIT Architecture students to experience a culture that is different from their own culture. Therefore, depending on your home or native country, study abroad/global experience options may be different for you than for others. The idea here is to grow, not to go back to what you know.

Common Questions about RIT Architecture Global Experience

Can previous global experiences (e.g. taken during undergraduate programs) count towards satisfying this requirement?

No. All students must engage a global experience during the time they are enrolled in the M.Arch. Program at RIT.

What is an appropriate experience for an international student?

Students must engage in a travel-related experience that is substantially different from their home culture. Again, the idea here is to grow, not to go back to what you know.

If I choose a semester-away, will I miss courses?

Yes. Choosing to study for a semester-away may alter your academic schedule and/or put you out of sequence for courses that are only offered once each year.

When can I complete the global experience requirement?

The student may choose to complete this requirement at any time during contiguous M.Arch. Program enrollment, as well as the summer before entry to the program. The global experience requirement may be completed as a semester abroad, a summer study abroad, over summer break, or as an “intersession” experience, so long as it meets the guidelines outlined in this document.

What do I need to do to demonstrate that I met the goals of my global experience?

You and your academic advisor will agree on a “deliverable” at the completion of the abroad experience. This is usually a public presentation and/or a written document (such as a portfolio) completed no later than the beginning of the second term following the global experience (for example, if you complete a global experience requirement during a summer, then your presentation and documentation must be received no later than the beginning of spring term of the following academic year. Deliverables will vary depending on the type of program you select. Be sure to discuss this in detail with your academic advisor.

What is the minimum time for a global experience?

The number of variables related to the global experience program are many. Students may choose any number of options to complete this requirement at any time during contiguous M.Arch. Program enrollment. The global experience requirement may be completed as a semester abroad, a summer study abroad, over summer break, or as an “intersession” experience, but must be at least 21 continuous calendar days in duration not including travel days.

Please note that all global experience requirements are subject to certification, approval, and review by M.Arch. faculty and RIT Study Abroad. Students are encouraged to complete due diligence before planning or embarking on a global experience trip.

Find out more

Students are encouraged to visit the RIT Study Abroad & Fellowship Office for guidance and information. Several pre-approved programs are available and others are shown at the RIT Study Abroad & Fellowship website. You can also find additional information about non-credit work-abroad programs here. Many outside resources also may be helpful, visit Going Global for more suggestions about living and working abroad.