rathat wrote:Is the "accepted route" for schooling abroad a domestic undergrad and then getting a masters abroad?
I have an undergrad from NCSU, but did a study abroad at the Universidad de Pais Vasco, Spain (in architecture/language) between my 3rd and 4th year, then did a MA in Branding Strategy about 10 years out at Brunel in London. Here's a little about these experiences, maybe it will help
For the undergrad study abroad, for me it was a fantastic experience. If I were to do it again, I think I personally would have picked a different school and focus (straight ID rather than Arch, though it did open doors later). For the 8 month culture experience I wouldn't change anything. If you can do a different language, I think it is a plus (but hard!). IMO, undergrad is a good time to slip in language courses as masters degrees can have a lot more life complications happening on the side and in some programs humanities are required anyway. Japan, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Korea, France would be good pics for locations/languages (I'm sure there are great programs in Latin America/Spain/China too). Usually undergraduate programs have exchange programs set up that can make the cost the same as your home University, which is great. All in all, doing a study abroad in your undergraduate program can give you a more worldly POV helps you in the international professional world - it definitely helped in my first professional jobs.
The masters experience was good, but less of a cultural experience. As it was an advanced program, I would imagine the mix with international students would happen even in your home country. It can be expensive as well for non residents, more than double the cost of nationals. European programs are usually a 1 year masters, without breaks, vs 2 years in the US - I think this is good to get it over with and distract your life a little less, but 2 years of immersion in a new subject is still a good thing. The school was good for what I wanted, and much of a MA is personal investigation into a subject you want to focus on, so you really get out what you put in on your own. Good teachers with real world experience to guide you are vital though. Doing a it abroad can good for making contacts in a target country as well, as academics can get access to people/companies more easily, outside of interview situation, and dissertations are great for that. The UK programs have a lot more writing in the programs than in the US, IMO. Things I would change? I would have done the degree earlier in my career, and during it, tried to get on-site company experience in the branding strategy world before joining a more product design centric firm (my end goal anyway so I jumped on the opening.) You always wonder about the premier Universities you didn't choose, the RCA's of the world, but the cost, program lengths, and locations were prohibitive for me at the time
Hope this helps!