Well my year in the Czech Republic has finally come to an end and what a year it has been! My last week in Usti consisted of finishing my work, presenting it and sharing the final moments with my friends before we all left for our home countries.
I am happy to write that I received another B in my final glass project and an A in 3D typography, giving me an overall score of 3 A’s and 4 B’s…not bad! One of the most important parts of this year was leaving England (and my comfort zone) and immersing myself in another country and culture. In retrospect I feel I was incredibly naive about the unique history and culture of the rest of the world. The differences in University education has given me a new perspective and helped me discover what I really want to achieve as a student and as a graduate. I have learnt how to maintain my integrity as a designer whilst taking criticism and developed a better understanding of what is required to design, develop and produce a successful product.
My year has been incredibly beneficial to me as I set out wanting to develop my skills in glass and not only did I achieve that, but I gained invaluable work experience and was able to see how the glass industry works in a different country. In some ways, I am excited about the prospect of working with glass in England now, as it is valued as a bespoke craft whereas in Novy Bor, Czech Republic it is still valued but is also treated as a regular everyday occupation. I am thoroughly glad that I have had to chance to practise and study this medium in two countries, where in one it is treated as a niche skilled craft and in the other it is far more industrious and widespread.
Another significant part of my year abroad was the people I met. I feel extremely privileged to have met such lovely people and because we were all Erasmus students, we shared the same passions for travel and experiencing the world. This turned out to be very beneficial when I travelled with them to Berlin,Venice, Dresden and Prague many times. I also met and became friends with several Czech individuals which to me was very important as they showed me around their towns and capital and allowed me to see their country through their eyes and not just through the eyes of a tourist.
In conclusion, I will never forget my Erasmus year and the experiences I have had. Studying abroad has enriched my life and taught me so much about myself: where I want to go and what I want to do with my life. One thing is for sure I will continue to travel and if you have the chance to study abroad for a year, take it!