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A Guide to Studying Film Abroad

As all students of Film know, the world of television and motion pictures extends far beyond Hollywood. In our rapidly globalizing world, film is becoming the medium by which artists and creative individuals from all over the world continuously shape the capacity to reach a broadly spanning audience which transcends cultural boundaries. Studying cinematography abroad will take you out of your comfort zone and into a whole new territory of creative film inspiration.

Why Study Film Abroad

Not only will studying film abroad look fantastic on your resume when seeking future employment, but it will be the adventure of a lifetime, both in your studies and in terms of personal development. Wherever you study abroad, your vision and creativity is bound to be expanded by the places you take it. There is no greater way to enhance your education than by travel, so by bringing your passion for film into a new cultural perspective you will be providing yourself with a truly life changing opportunity.

Locations

There are quite a few different ways to study film abroad, and obviously which location will provide the best experience depends heavily on your personal aspirations and interests within the film industry. Studying abroad in Los Angeles, for example, will give you an up close and personal experience under the bright lights of Hollywood, while studying film in Paris, London, or Rome might prove to be a more cultivated experience. Studying film in Tokyo will let you trail the footsteps of masters such as Ozu and Kurosawa, but studying in Mumbai will give you a behind the scenes view of the booming Bollywood industry.

Simply put, there is no “best place” to study cinematography abroad – it all comes down to what you want out of the experience. As a rule of thumb, studying abroad in a culture which is similar to your own can lead to a more refined outlook on the subject, while studying in a culture that is drastically different can lead to a more expansive outlook on the medium of film as a whole. Take this into account when considering what type of experience you want and what type of filmmaker you want to be.

There are great film schools all over the world, from Beijing to New York City – when studying cinematography abroad try to look beyond the prestige of the academy and consider the type of environment you are placing yourself into outside of the classroom as well. For example, if you are interested in making documentaries, would you rather study at an elite school in a city quite similar to your home or would you rather travel to a rural area of a developing country where significant problems beg to be brought to light? No one can answer for you - the choice is yours.

Courses & Programs

The exact film courses offered will obviously depend on what location and institution you decide to study abroad in. Most major universities have film departments, in one form or another. where it is possible to study cinematography and choose from a wide catalogue of classes. Although there are most definitely some study abroad programs specifically made for film students.

Keep in mind that in some countries the language barrier might prevent you from taking certain courses, so thoroughly do your research. Don’t forget to explore which study abroad program might offer the best opportunities both inside and outside the classroom too, such as a study abroad program based in Rome. 

It is reasonable to assume that you will want to take at least one course which examines the films of your study abroad location, whether it be historical, contemporary, or whatever. However, do not limit yourself even to this one region – how interesting will it be to take a class on the industry of your own country from an outsider’s perspective, for example? Or how about simply indulging in the most interesting course on the catalogue, one you would never have the opportunity to take at your home university?

Studying abroad is about experiencing another culture as much as it is about reflecting on your own and gaining a broader global view. Take advantage of your time studying film abroad and develop a deeper view of the medium, while also studying yourself and your interaction with the new environment you find yourself in. You may just find you will return home inspired to do great things.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

As film is becoming an increasingly utilized global phenomenon, there is no better way to get a jump start on the industry and enlarge your perspective of what is possible than by travelling to another country and living it firsthand. Studying abroad is in itself an enlightening experience. Spending significant time away from home far off in the world is undoubtedly a daunting prospect, but an experience well worth the while considering the swell of benefits, both personal and academic, that you will gain. 

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A Guide To
Studying Film Abroad

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