International Spotlight: Kelsey Rhode

March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Previous International Spotlight posts highlight the journeys of my fellow IARc classmates, but this week I share my personal experience studying in Wellington, New Zealand during spring semester, 2011. Because of my enduring appreciation of natural beauty and landscapes, New Zealand capped the top of my list of places to visit. I seized the opportunity to live and study there for six months just as soon as I heard about the program. I took up residence in the capital city of Wellington, located at the bottom tip of the north island. I absolutely loved the urban atmosphere and abounding cultural events. The city’s overwhelming appreciation for the arts and architecture inspired my design work. Museums, art galleries, public exhibits, and live shows were among my favorite things to explore. The city also encompassed a bay, which I frequented daily. [1]

I was enrolled in four spatial design classes at Massey University, which was only a five minute walk from the flat I shared with four native New Zealanders. The University arranged my room and board, giving me a completely hassle-free transition, making moving there a breeze. Getting to live with people from New Zealand was one of the greatest opportunities because it gave me a chance to immerse myself in their culture and discover more about their way of life. My design classes were very interesting, because of New Zealand’s contrasting design approach. My design skills and conceptual development definitely improved after my trip abroad.[2]

My greatest experiences there included the trips I took in and around both islands during weekends and spring break. Among my favorite places to visit were: the Bay of Islands, Abel Tasman Park, Mt. Cook, and the Milford Sound. The amazing scenery and breathtaking landscapes were among the most beautiful that I have ever seen. Through New Zealand’s rich design, architecture, and natural environment, my study abroad experience gave me a new perspective on life and interior architecture.[3]

Both my studies and travels really had a tremendous impact on my life. I would not be the same person, nor designer if I did not have those amazing opportunities. It seems cliche to say, but it really was one of the greatest experiences of my life. From a design standpoint, my skills grew astronomically. Not only did I become more confident in my personal style, but I grew a greater understanding of architecture and its role in different parts of the world, as well as different cultures. I gained yet another valuable task through having to make my statement through my work alone.[4]

Encountering a new culture, different way of life and interior design discipline are all reasons I think everyone should take the opportunity to venture abroad. Looking back on my entire experience, I would not have changed anything.

Photos by Kelsey Rhode:

[1]Wellington, NZ          [2] Bay of Islands,NZ          [3]Abel Tasman,NZ           [4]Mckenzie County, NZ

Story contributed by Kelsey Rhode [4th] year

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