Study Interior Design Abroad

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A Guide to Studying Interior Design Abroad

Studying interior design abroad is a way to expand your skill set and get inspiration for new ideas from your daily experiences and surroundings. By stepping out of your comfort zone and expanding your understanding of design on a global scale, you’ll set yourself ahead of your peers in courses back home and in your future career. Studying abroad will allow you to see some of the world’s most famous architectural and design landmarks, something that most designers only dream of.

Why Study Interior Design Abroad

While studying interior design abroad, you will be able to build relationships with other students from around the world, who can become your network of future contacts, designers, and influencers. Many instructors who teach interior design courses are leading professionals of both design and architecture and are accomplished innovators in the field. Through interactions with other students and your professors, you’ll gain insight into the way interior design is taught and approached in other parts of the globe, giving you even more inspiration to draw from for your future projects.

Studying interior design abroad will help you grow personally in many ways too; by challenging yourself in a new destination, you’ll learn things that you might not anticipate. Your international experiences will give you inspiration for your work and help you find your niche within the field as well as your own unique style. Many students come home from study abroad feeling more confident and sure of themselves, their skills, and their future, all necessary traits for anyone in a competitive field like interior design.


Depending on what you are looking for in an interior design study abroad program and how many studio courses you need to take for your degree requirements, there are many countries to choose from. Below are some of the top location recommendations for studying interior design abroad, that tend to offer a variety of interior design classes or specific interior design study abroad programs.

Italy is likely the first destination that comes to mind when thinking about where to study interior design abroad, and for good reason. There are more design schools in Italy than you can count on one hand, and your art history books are probably filled with images of the interiors of Italian buildings. Most opportunities to study interior design in Italy are in Florence or Milan. Many interior design study abroad programs in Italy focus on incorporating the surrounding sites and buildings into coursework, so students can take advantage of their location instead of sitting in a classroom. There are all types of institutions that offer interior design study abroad programs in Italy, such as schools focused only on art and design, larger universities, and small satellite programs of U.S. colleges.

Spain is an incredible choice for studying interior design abroad, especially for those who want to improve their Spanish language skills and have the resources of a large metropolis at their fingertips. Many interior design study abroad programs in Spain are based in Barcelona, which is famous for its unique architecture, both historic and modern. With many cultural festivals based around film, architecture, and design, Barcelona is an phenomenal choice for someone who wants to stay connected with big influencers in the world of culture and art. Other destinations around Spain that host many interior design programs include Valencia and Madrid. Many students end of studying interior design in Spain at Spanish universities, although there are some design-specific schools will programs as well.

England offers interior design students the chance to expand their artistic horizons, even if they’re not interested in learning a new language. London is one of the most popular choices for interior design programs in England, and it is also home to many art museums and design firms. Many world-renown designers and trendsetters either live or spend time in London, and the atmosphere of the city can be an amazing influence on design work. Most interior design study abroad programs in England are hosted at colleges or universities, although there are some U.S. schools that run satellite programs.

Studying Interior Design Abroad

A good interior design study abroad program will be structured so that you learn by doing rather than just listening. With computer labs, modeling labs, and art studios, many schools are equipped with all of the spaces you’ll need to develop your skills and challenge yourself. Interior design courses may have less structure than you are used to, with an emphasis on a few bigger projects rather than many small ones throughout the semester. Design theory will also be referenced in most of your courses.

Below are a few examples of interior design classes you may have the opportunity to take while studying abroad. For studio classes, be sure to keep in mind how you will get your work home or how to document it, so you can include it in your portfolio even if you’re not able to transport it.

Introductory interior design is valuable for any interior design major. Even if you have taken a similar class, you might still consider taking it during your study abroad program if you’re able to get credit. The alternative methodology of instruction and projects will give you insight into how your classmates and professors are approaching the subject of interior design in a new way.

Technical drawing is a requirement in many design degree tracks, and this is an excellent course to take abroad. Materials and supplies for drawing courses are not as expensive as for other studio classes, and if you already have supplies at home they are probably light enough to bring with you.

Textile science focuses on the makeup of cloth and other materials used in the design of a space, including the furniture, curtains, flooring, and other decorative elements. You will learn properties of different textiles and biofibers through the lens of design, and you may get introduced to new types of textiles that are not common in your home country.

Your classmates could be a mixture of other international students or students from your study abroad destination. Most professors will be established in the field and have connections to design firms and companies around the country, so you can and should use them as a resource to build your own network. 

Numerous interior design study abroad programs include field trips, to visit artists, designers, businesses, and historic sites, as a core element of curriculum. By taking the time to go into the community and see how people are using interior design, you’ll get a better understanding of potential career paths after your degree and a feel for the local interior design culture. Many interior design study abroad programs offer classes in English, although some upper level classes may only be offered in the nation’s primary language. Depending on the level of competition present in your program of interest, you may be asked to submit a portfolio of previous work and/or provide your transcript to prove you have taking introductory design courses.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Get Firsthand Experience. For interior designers, being able to view a space firsthand is something that cannot be replicated. Many interior design programs abroad incorporate visits to famous sites, that up until now you may have only seen in photos. The opportunity to walk around inside the buildings you are studying will give you the chance to develop a specific understanding of the atmosphere, dynamics, and sight lines of a particular space. 

Gain a Competitive Edge. Studying interior design abroad will give you a leg up in a competitive field and allow you to push your own boundaries as a designer. You’ll get a new perspective from your professors and other students, who may have different social, cultural, educational, or professional backgrounds from you.

Grow as a Designer. You will take interior design courses abroad that will incorporate the theory and history of design with real projects, allowing you to see your own work in a new light. By gaining cross-cultural understanding and inspiration, you will be able to push the boundaries of your own designs, and career!

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A Guide To
Studying Interior Design Abroad


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