Art is one of the most prominent, defining factors of a country and its culture. National culture is both reflected and influenced by the local art, giving art mediums significant power in determining the identity of a nation, such as Picasso’s Guernica in Spain documenting national suffering from the civil war or Hokusai’s Great Wave in Japan depicting Mt. Fuji and traditional island lifestyles. Studying fine arts abroad will give you a glimpse into a culture that no other subject or experience can offer.
Why Study Abroad
When studying fine arts abroad you will experience a nation’s culture through the creative lens of a current or former inhabitant of that country. This will not only give you an idea of the sociopolitical issues faced by a particular country through history, but it will also allow you to view the art as it is intended to be seen – in person. Viewing art in its most organic environment is to see it within its intended context, which is live in person in a museum, art gallery, theatre, music hall, or other art venues. The reaction or interpretation of art can be greatly influenced by the context in which it is presented, which is why studying the arts in its most natural habitat is more fulfilling than in the classroom.
With a historically deep art culture in just about every major city, Italy offers countless opportunities to study fine arts. Rome is the perfect example of a city that has integrated modern society into a preserved ancient culture. With the Sistine Chapel, the Trevi Fountain, and the Piazza de Campidoglio, amongst many other museums, theatres, sculptures, and architecture, there is no shortage of art to study and experience in Rome.
To help spark your creativity and appreciation for the arts, it is beneficial to engage in new surroundings. Studying fine arts in China is a perfect opportunity to achieve a new cultural perspective. Not only does China provide rich landscapes unique from the rest of the world, but its traditional art culture dates back several thousands of years. Studying fine arts in China will heighten your awareness to detail and will broaden your perspective on ancient techniques of precision in calligraphy, non-oil based painting, and terracotta pottery.
France’s artistic techniques cannot go unnoticed when considering locations to study fine arts abroad. Though France offers just about every medium of art, it is most notably renowned historically for its paintings, because of Monet, and architecture due to Stephen Sauvestre (one of the Eiffel Tower architects). France’s traction for fashion and film has grown recently, too. Most fine arts programs in France take place in the nation’s capital and art capital, Paris. However, it is also common to find study abroad programs in most of the nation’s other major cities, like Lyon and Nantes, as well as smaller towns like Pau and Arles. By studying the arts in France you will essentially be studying abroad in the main hub for modern art.
As a colonizer of many colonies, and consequently a nation filled with international diversity, England’s cultural identity has fluctuated greatly throughout time. A benefit to studying art in England is that you will have the opportunity to see most of Great Britain by traveling to the British Isles, Scotland, and Ireland, allowing you a wide array of art cultures to explore.
The Tate Modern in London is one of the most famous museums in the world and it’s reason enough to study fine arts in London! English art is most distinguished by its portrayal of idyllic scenery and landscapes, and there’s no better way to gain a better appreciation for theses landscapes than to see them in person. Through studying English art and being surrounded by famous churches and cathedrals, you will understand the historic progression of the nation through art.
Courses & Programs
While studying fine arts abroad, you can gain a more general overview of a nation’s art culture and history through humanities and art history courses, or you can hone in on a more particular field, such as studio art, sculpture, pottery, painting, ceramics, illustration, jewelry making, textile design, glass art, shoemaking/design, theatre, dance, or photography (and many, many more).
Fine arts courses abroad typically run for a full semester and last roughly three to four months. It’s highly recommended to study art abroad during either the fall or spring semester as the traffic from tourists is typically much less congested. Less congestion gives you easier access to the famous sites and subjects you will be studying (and more hands-on time with your professors).
While most art courses will have regular class meetings, it is very common for teachers to encourage their students to get outside of the classroom for field based project work. Some fine arts courses abroad will even offer daily activities, such as museum trips or live theater performances, as an alternative to the day’s lecture. Develop your personal style, theatre persona, or dance foundation while learning in some of the most world renowned locations for the arts. Most fine arts study abroad programs require little to no experience/qualifications, as long as you are enrolled as a full time student.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Gain an Understanding and Appreciation of a Nation’s Culture. Art is how we define historical periods, so studying the collection of a nation’s art provides an in depth look into that country’s history. Through studying a nation’s history, you gain a better understanding of the current national sociopolitical customs.
Not all Artists are Starving. Unlike the United States, most countries have some sort of administration of culture and art that funds and preserves national art. As a result, artists in Europe are often held to a higher regard and live more comfortable lives. The recognition of the importance art has on society is something the U.S. lacks. Though famous American artists and performers often live affluent lifestyles, it is nearly impossible to get that initial spark to kickstart a career as an artist.
Get Connected with the Local Art Scene. The hopes of studying fine arts abroad is that you will learn to network in an unfamiliar art culture. You’ll make stronger connections to what you learned abroad to your own country’s national art model as a way to progress the industry.