Study Graphic Design Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Studying Graphic Design Abroad

Studying graphic design abroad lets you see a new country and culture while developing your artistic and business skills. Since the industry of graphic design is always changing, taking courses abroad can give you new tools and keep you up to date on the latest trends. Being in classes with international students can give you new perspectives and tools for your own design process, as well as challenge the way you have been trained in methods from your home country.

Why Study Graphic Design Abroad

Building your portfolio and abilities will make you a better graphic designer, and this is exactly what will happen through study abroad. Studying at a new school and working in an international context will allow you to learn from professors who have different specializations and experiences than you may have otherwise encountered.

Through your graphic design courses abroad you will create specific projects and see different ways of presenting your portfolio and even doing group critiques. When you study graphic design abroad, you also develop a better understanding of important designers native to that country that you may have otherwise not known about.

Soft skills such as flexibility, adaptability, problem solving, patience, and empathy are important for any artist or business person, and you will build these skills while studying abroad too. Being surrounded by a new group of people and living in a new country will also influence your creative process and could give you new inspiration.


Most of international universities that offer established graphic design programs are located in Europe, but there are also many opportunities in Australia. 

Australia is an amazing location to study graphic design abroad, because many of the universities in Australia offer well-developed art and design programs. Since there is no language barrier you will be able to choose from a wide variety of courses too. Australian cities are home to many leading graphic design companies, allowing you to build connections through casual networking meetups or potentially have guest speakers in class.

Graphic design courses in Australia might seem more hands-off compared to your home country, without as many check ins throughout the semester and more of an emphasis on big projects. Most professors and students in Australia appreciate a good work-life balance. 

Spain is an incredible destination for international study in graphic design. Both Madrid and Barcelona offer many design schools as well as amazing art museums, and some of the smaller cities around Spain also provide graphic design courses. You can develop your Spanish language skills and get an understanding of the Spanish lifestyle through studying abroad in Spain.

Many graphic design study abroad programs will allow you to build connections with local Spanish students as well as students from around the world, giving you new tools and fostering creative dialogue. If you are interested in learning more about the business of graphic design, some graphic design study abroad courses in Spain also focus on this important element. 

England is a superb choice for graphic design study abroad because of the English language and the sheer amount of programs. London is a well-known hub for art and business, making it a clear leader. However, there are also some exceptional programs in smaller cities, such as Nottingham, – making it easier on your budget and giving you an idea of day-to-day life in England outside of its famous capital.

Studying graphic design in England may be similar to your home country, with a high emphasis on academic rigor and theory in many art programs. In addition, the world renowned museums and galleries in England provide space to step back and be inspired. 

Italy is an amazing country for graphic design study abroad, with some of the world’s most famous cities for art as well as a strong historical connection to all things creative. The most obvious location choice is Milan, with many incredible design schools and the famous professors and alumni that come with being the cultural hub of Italy. Milan is widely considered the design capital of the world and many of the globe’s most established designers choose to work here, from fashion to jewelry to logos to furniture.

Other cities you might consider include Florence for its connection to the world of art and creative apprenticeship, and Rome for its influence on business in Italy. The emphasis on quality and creative process in Italy will give you a new perspective and focus, and you will also be able to build a global network of other designers and students.

Graphic Design Courses Abroad

Studying graphic design abroad may be similar to taking courses in your home country in that it will emphasize both artistic theory as well as technological tools. Basic graphic design courses will focus on foundational elements of design as well as techniques, with programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.

Intermediate level classes will touch on visual communication strategies and different approaches to this, as well as topics such as brand identity, logo development, and other marketing ideas that influence most graphic design jobs. If you plan to take advanced courses during graphic design study abroad, it is recommended that you confirm this with your program ahead of time as these classes could be competitive and might not be open to foreign students.

Many graphic design courses abroad will have similar requirements as studio art courses on your home campus, so you may be asked to show your abilities through submission of your work or a list of past design and art courses.

Advanced courses require a high level of graphic design experience and give you the opportunity to further build your portfolio, possibly matching you with a company or organization to do specific work with during your time abroad.

The method of instruction and breakdown of units throughout graphic design courses will vary depending on your destination. You can expect several critiques of your graphic design work throughout the program and an opportunity for creative discussions with your peers though.

By focusing on methodology, technological trends, and design knowledge, the courses in your graphic design study abroad program will give you new tools for better visual communication. Specific topics in your graphic design classes could be editorial design, web interface layout, typography, text and image combinations, logo creation, color influence, and advertising. You can focus on digital or print media, or both.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

New Perspective. A graphic design study abroad program will give you new perspectives and methodologies to utilize in your creative process. You can build connections with international teachers, students, and professional designers who can influence your projects and give you guidance.

Diverse Professional Portfolio. You will be able to build your portfolio through assignments over the course of your study abroad program. In a highly competitive field, such as graphic design, articulating your experience studying abroad and showing how it influenced your work will set you apart from other candidates.

Read More

A Guide To
Studying Graphic Design Abroad


 Find Graphic Design Study Abroad Programs Now


This listing has been saved 17 times

AIFS Study Abroad in Perth, Australia: Semester or Year

Spend a semester or academic year in the vibrant and energetic city of Perth with AIFS. Earn up to 16 credits through a variety of courses studying at Murdoch University. Courses are taught in English. Students choose courses from the full curriculum at Murdoch University on either the Full Curriculum Program, the Specialized Certificate Program or the Exercise Science Internship. An Optiona...


This listing has been saved 34 times

IES Abroad (Institute for the Int'l Education of Students)

Experience living and studying in Sydney, Australia, through a Graphic Design academic program from IES Abroad. Participants will study at Macquarie University, where they will immerse themselves in academic and student culture. Students will make the beautiful city their classroom and become involved in hands-on professional internship placements.


This listing has been saved 2 times

BUAbroad: Italy Venice Studio Arts (Summer)

Travel to Italy for the Venice Studio Arts Program, which provides you an unbeatable opportunity to refine relevant skills. Throughout your summer term abroad, you will find inspiration in Venice - a city synonymous with visual art. This program is based at Boston University’s center near Campo Santa Margherita, where you have access to local shops and markets. You will attend art history l...


This listing has been saved 10 times

USAC AUSTRALIA: Gold Coast & Brisbane - Full Curriculum

Spend one or two semesters in the “Sunshine State” of Australia, where a year has an average of 300 sunny days! The Gold Coast and Brisbane program is an ideal study abroad experience if you love the outdoors. Based along the country’s east coast, this program lest you explore beaches, coral reef system, rainforest, and scenic highways. The host institution is Griffith University, where you...


This listing has been saved 1 time

CIEE Global Architecture and Design in Barcelona, Spain

Watch an FC Barcelona soccer match and you might catch a glimpse of the stunning architecture that dots Barcelona’s skyline. Come on CIEE’s Architecture and Design program, and you’ll get to see these spectacular buildings up close, from buildings dating to medieval times to the unfinished church of the Sagrada Familia. Study at a local school of architecture and design, visit architecture duri...


This listing has been saved 23 times

Spend Your Gap Year in Rome, Italy at John Cabot University

A gap year is an incredible opportunity to experience the world, learn a new language, make international friends, and learn about yourself before starting college. John Cabot University in Rome, Italy not only provides an invaluable gap year experience, but also allows you to earn transferrable college credits that will allow you to stay on track for graduation. As an American university in...


This listing has been saved 35 times

Forum Europe Summer 2018: Travel Around 9 Cities in 1 Month

Multi-country summer program in Europe: Earn up to 8 credits in the summer while studying in 9 amazing European cities. Students from the U.S. and other countries travel together (with the professors) taking classes, visiting universities, companies and international organizations. Open to all majors. U.S.-accredited university. Acquire a solid understanding of European culture, economy and soc...


This listing has been saved 6 times

Study Abroad & Spanish Immersion in Oaxaca, Mexico

Learn Spanish in the fascinating colonial city of Oaxaca, Mexico. A land of snow-capped peaks, expansive deserts, cool cloud forests, and the beauty of two coastlines, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Mexico is truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Explore indigenous villages and stroll through colonial cities with their welcoming plazas and inspiring architecture. Dis...


This listing has been saved 6 times

CEA Study Abroad in Rome, Italy

Study abroad in Rome and discover la dolce vita— the sweet life. Imagine studying art history as you gaze up at the Sistine Chapel, or learning theology just a few blocks from the Vatican. Life in the Eternal City is an experience of a lifetime! You’ll take classes at the centrally located CEA Rome Center, at Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (LUISS), and at John Cabot Un...


This listing has been saved 11 times

International Exchange Programs at Sharjah, UAE

Study abroad in the United Arab Emirates with American University of Sharjah (AUS). Participants of this international learning opportunity have the chance to take courses from any of the four colleges/schools in the University, namely, College of Engineering (CEN), College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), School of Business Administration (SBA), and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). ...


This listing has been saved 4 times

LdM Florence: Summer Program

The LdM Florence campus is one of the largest international schools in Italy, located in twelve campus buildings in the historic city center near the famous Duomo Cathedral and next to the bustling San Lorenzo market and church. The LdM buildings are Wi-Fi equipped and contain a full range of facilities including large classrooms and specialized art studios, a cafeteria, courtyard garden, libra...