Experiential Learning in Italy
While studying abroad at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy, I participated in an Experiential Learning program that FUA offers called Special Project Experiential Learning: Book Publishing. I, along with ten other students from different majors, including photography, graphic design, videography, and book publishing, worked on FUA’s magazine, Blending. This magazine is published online as well as physically printed each semester. There is also a monthly newsletter and radio podcasts to complement the magazine. Any student attending FUA can publish a piece related to art, design, research, or cultural studies for either the magazine or newsletter. Many students involved in the experiential learning program published their work, but it was open to all students.
Since this was a special class to enroll in, I had to apply and interview for the position. During the interview, I was asked about my skill set. At RIT, I am a Visual Media major, which incorporates design, photography, and marketing. All the classes I’ve taken at RIT, especially Elements of Visual Media, helped me prepare for the position. The interviewer was particularly interested in my skill level with Adobe applications, specifically Illustrator and InDesign. After discussing some of the projects I’ve worked on in the past, I was accepted into the class. As part of the class, I put in approximately 10 hours of work each week. I was assigned a supervisor who provided assignments and feedback for me every week.
My assignments included content editing for textbook chapters, content editing articles for the Blending magazine, and designing a new title layout for the photography magazine at FUA. For the design assignment, I worked closely with FUA’s designer throughout the process. First, I brainstormed and sketched the ideas I had before presenting them to her. After getting her feedback, I started to design them using Adobe Illustrator. Throughout the process, the designer would check my work and constantly gave me feedback. In the end, she helped me create a dynamic and fun layout for the viewers of the photography magazine.
I loved my time during this class! It was extremely beneficial based on my major. I learned many things about design that were new to me, including creating a dynamic design and using a Wacom tablet when creating my design. It was also interesting to learn about the similarities and differences of the entire design process in a different culture. One big difference in the design process was the amount of time I spent with just paper and a pencil. The designer I worked with recommended this because it becomes easier to create your design in Adobe after taking the time to sketch and brainstorm your ideas on paper first.
I would 100% recommend that others apply for a class similar to this one! You can gain a different perspective on your major, and it can help you in the future with your academic work and in your career.
Megan is a 3rd-year Photographic & Imaging Arts major in the College of Art and Design and studied in Florence, Italy at Florence University of the Arts through RIT’s partner SAI.