Interior Design and Visual Merchandising Students Earn International Certificates

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 19, 2016 – High Point University interior design and visual merchandising students are studying abroad at Lorenzo de Medici (LdM) International Institute in Florence this semester earning international certificates.

LdM brings students from all over the world and provides them with an international learning experience where students develop their creativity.

“I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to travel to another country and get certified in the field of design,” said HPU interior design student Karla Villarreal. “Not only does this make a student more cultured and aware of the world, but it also helps in stepping out of one’s comfort zone and reaching new expectations. Receiving this certificate will boost my portfolio and my resume, giving me the chance to compete at a higher level with other design students out in the field.”

Through hands-on projects, students have made models and life-size prototypes at LdM to put their design concepts to the test.

“The certificate has given me the opportunity to experience design through an Italian perspective,” says Villarreal. “I had to return to the basics and learn how to develop projects from the beginning in the Italian metric system. It has been a fun learning experience to design going back-and-forth between two different measuring systems. In addition, it has been a humbling opportunity to be taught by Italian professors. They have taught me to see design in a less conceptual and abstract way and more in a technical and functional manner. A design can be aesthetically pleasing but if it is not functional, it can’t work.”

Students have also had the opportunity to explore the city of Florence during their semester abroad while learning about the rich and diverse culture.

“Studying abroad is a great experience for students,” said HPU visual merchandising student Taryn Duran. “We are so fortunate to have an opportunity to study in Florence where design is such an important aspect of the city. This is an unforgettable experience and has shaped me into a better person and student. Studying abroad will always have an impact on my future work ethic and style that would not have been achievable if it was not for the opportunity HPU provided me.”

The LdM partnership has also left a lasting impact on past participants who are graduating and taking their next steps into the world of interior design.

“The opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy, spring of our junior year was one of the many reasons I was drawn to High Point University,” said Lynde Pepper, HPU interior design senior who is heading to Florida State University for her Master of Science advanced professional degree in Interior Design with an emphasis on health care design. “There were 15 interior design students that went abroad and the friendship that was developed between us will last a lifetime. After taking three ‘History of Interiors’ classes with the dean, Dr. Turpin, we were able to see the art and architecture shown to us in his PowerPoints in real life – and every time we recognized a picture we got really excited because we already knew its history. Studying abroad was essential to tying together what you learn in the classroom and the world – it exposes you to so much and makes you grow as an individual. There is not a day that goes by that we do not refer back to this experience. As a design student, it was awe-inspiring to be exposed to European architecture, design and lifestyle.”

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