Autumn Ragland, 2nd-year Architecture student, explained that the study abroad experience was an amazing opportunity to see history in architecture at a personal level.
“From the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Pompidou Center to meticulously cared-for cemeteries and ‘temporary’ riverside shops, I was able to understand and feel the long-term effect and deep importance of the built environment,” explained Ragland.
Before embarking on their study abroad trip, students participated in a three-hour seminar. Sydney Bittinger, 3rd-year Architecture student, explained that her experience in the Normandy Scholars program helped shape the way she looks at design.
“It gave me an opportunity to share my passion [with other students] as well as understand how design and media can impact visitors,” stated Bittinger.
Patrick Keogh, 3rd-year Interior Architecture student, agreed with Bittinger. “Seeing monuments and museums that ultimately talk about the same event but take different approaches helps to see the small nuances in the designs, such as materials, lighting and spatial organization.
While participating in the program, students learned more about their chosen design professions, but also, they were able to reflect on the history behind the sites they visited. The students in the program focused on memory studies, which examine how societies react to and commemorate the past.
“This trip helped me realize that I am a revenant (a returner) for the next generation to these places of memory,” stated Jonathan Winfiele, a 3rd-year Architecture student. “We have the responsibility to craft the narrative for others to understand and to preserve its integrity.”
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