Inspiration can be found anywhere, but why not give yourself a chance to look beyond the classroom and instead peek into the corners of Louvre? Stroll through Monet’s garden, dance on a Russian stage, or watch a classic Shakespearean tragedy at the Globe. Find a muse – or one hundred – as you learn to sing a new tune abroad. Getting an international arts degree immerses you in experiences you couldn’t have dreamed of before and you can paint your study abroad experience exactly how you want, with new color palettes and fresh perspectives. Start sketching!
Why Earn an Art Degree Abroad
Studying arts abroad offers you a new way of looking at things, and the brainstorming goes far beyond the pages of the sketchbook. With new cultural, mental, and professional perspectives to be found, an art degree abroad opens many new doors.
Art is what quantifies the cultural wealth of a country or a place. By exposing yourself to not just the method, but also the social, political, and geographic history and reasoning behind the art, you get to see your textbooks come to life. Getting a strong foundation behind an artistic or literary movement is much easier to understand when confronted with the location and mentality of its origins. Plus, who’d complain about sipping on a glass of chianti while overlooking olive fields to understand where in the world da Vinci was coming from?!
Getting a degree from top international art schools means allowing yourself to be taught by professors who might have different training and employ different methods than you’d experience back home. Since art is creation, having the ability to make use of various materials is important. Earning an art degree abroad is more than just copying great masters; it’s about composing your own orchestra and then performing to the world. Good thing you now have the tools to do so!
The art world is all about connections. Sure, a well-developed portfolio is a big advantage, but rubbing elbows with fellow artists (both on the rise and already notable) is invaluable. Art degrees earned abroad come with all sorts of opportunities to make professional links, friendships, and appearances that are vital to establishing yourself as the next Erté.
Any place in the world can offer endless inspiration, be it in the form of museums or random buskers on the street. Ultimately, picking the right spot for you is a balance between personal lifestyle preferences and the art field you’d like to focus on. However, you can’t go wrong with refining your art skills in the world’s art Meccas:
Imagine a scene set in Paris, camera panning around popular spots: the Eiffel Tower, metro stations at dusk, quaint cafes, the Seine, the spires of Notre-Dame. Even outside of Montmarte, watercolor painters and street performers are aplenty. France has always been welcoming towards all different types of art, including traditional arts and fashion design. Ponder contemporary displays in the Bellevue district and then go exchange a secretive glance with Mona Lisa at the Louvre before embarking on your own Belle Époque!
If endless pasta, sexy accents, and colorful sunsets are more your thing, hop on over to Rome. On a single day, you could stroll past the Colosseum, the Roman forum, the Pantheon, the Sistine chapel, and endless street corners bathed in Renaissance architecture. There’s also the oldest museum in the world: the Capitoline. For those wanting a younger, more international crowd, try Florence, which gave way to masters such as Raphael, Michelangelo and Da Vinci. The city is practically drenched in art, and surrounding Tuscany makes a great backdrop for any falters of inspiration.
England maybe staunchly British, but London is one of the most multicultural cities you will find in the world. Over the years, England has taken on many cultural identities, so there is more than enough to please even the most discerning student. Whether the Royal Collection or the Tate is your cup of tea, there is something for both the conservative and the daring artist. With some of the most prestigious colleges in the world, such as the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Architectural Association, London is good for specialised programs. Being one of the ‘big four’ fashion capitals, students studying fashion would be spoiled for inspiration.
Want something more exotic? Getting an arts degree in China is more than just cherry blossoms and dragon tattoos; there’s also a rich history of ceramics, textiles and design. A city of note is Beijing, which has incredible offerings for the taking. Structures such as the Tiananmen Gate and the Forbidden City are completely preserved through time, while 798 Art Zone (also called the Dashanzi Art District) is the place to dip your brush into a more contemporary art scene.
There’s almost as many art degree types as there are colors on the CMYK color model. So, stick your interest on the x-axis, play with the intensity and saturation, and then place the eyedropper tool on the exact combination that looks best.
The arts is a widely-encompassing field of study: studio arts, sculpture, illustration, jewelry making, textile design, theatre, dance, or photography and graphic design, and fashion design. Usually, international art degrees start with foundation classes, which introduce students to the basics of the various fields. As the years progress, students will then be able to concentrate more on their interests and study a particular field with more detail.
Like domestic institutions, courses abroad run the gamut from short courses (a few months or a semester) to complete undergraduate or graduate level programs. Most of the universities throughout the work require a portfolio or audition in addition to the standard application, so research entrance and language requirements thoroughly.
Those those international students with free time on their hands, consider making the most of your study abroad experience by continuing studio time outside of classroom hours. An internship abroad shines a new light on how you experience art, teachers you a few new skills, and greatly expands your network. As many countries stress the importance of hand-on training, don’t be surprised if singing in the city’s choir or designing a set for the local opera house is part of your four year plan!
Benefits & Challenges
While studying art abroad, you get to see art in its true home. You experience not just the final brush strokes, but every spill and fall along the way. Who’d pick a bootleg recording of Hamilton on a small computer screen instead of sitting in the performance hall in person? Why settle for seeing a photo of the Egyptian pyramids if you could stand at the base of them? Put art in context and grow from the experience!
Art is all about innovation, and what better way to find inspiration than to confront an entirely new world? Studying abroad means you get to experience a medley of inspiration and understand movements through artists’ perspectives. This melting pot of styles, notes, angles, and writing styles not only builds you as a well-rounded artist, but makes the entire world your easel.
At first, entering a new world and facing down an avalanche of information could be quite daunting. But fret not! There are likely more students in the same boat, and, more often than not, everyone is delighted to help you out. By the time you’re holding that diploma, you’ll realize that you have both personal and professional connections all over the world. And what’s better for establishing a career than an international network?
While an art major abroad, you’re presented with a completely different way of looking at the world, different cultures, and yourself. Studying foreign perspectives sparks creative juices to flow, which can then be processed to write your very own musical. March to the beat of your own drum with pride — just don’t forget your passport!