continue at AAU or go to germany (big decision!)

Hey everyone, I have kind of a dilemma on my hands here. I have been going to the academy of art university in san fransisco for 2 semesters now. At the beginning of this summer, i realized that i can go to college in germany for very very cheap because i have dual citizenship there. So i set about writing a million emails in german ( I am fluent, mostly) to about 8 different schools. unfortunately, it seems that most of them have special tests of their own to find out if you would be a good designer, and these need to be done in early may. this means that i wont get in till fall 2010.

I’m all signed up for classes at the academy right now, im missing san francisco and my friends there and i’m ready to go back. also I’m 23 and going into my 2nd year of college (I worked construction for 3 years right out of high school). I don’t want to take another year break in my education. I have had quite enough life experience at this point and I’d like to do my degree and get my career started.

On the other hand, when I graduate the academy I will be upwards of 80,000 in debt. If i go to germany there will be very little debt. Also, while i feel i will get a good education there, there are several things about the academy i don’t like that much. some of the instruction is not quite as good as one might hope, and most people there have the niggling feeling that we are not quite getting what we pay for.

Also, i go to germany, when i graduate i will be fully fluent in the languages and cultures of both countries and will have contacts and connections in both. this seems like quite a career asset to me. If i do wait the year, I’ll want to do some sort of internship, or something worthwhile instead of sitting around or doing a low wage job.

so basically, i have alot of questions

A. has anyone here studied in germany or know someone who did? what was it like? what is its reputation as a whole in respects to ID?

B. If you did study in germany, what schools do you recommend?

C. with my portfolio (Coroflot — Design Jobs & Portfolios , needs some explanation etc. but my real one is in a pdf that is too big to upload), and one year of college, what would you experienced designers see my chances of getting an internship as?

D. opinions on my situation in general? been there done that?

thanks guys!

I am student from AAU. I can not offer you advise on going to Germany or not, but I will encourage you to go study aboard if you got the chance. It is very different once you are studying in different country. If they start the test at May, I think you should prepare what is going to be tested and make a butt kicking portfolio. 3 semesters are pretty much nothing if you are young. However, you got a chance to be better off in the next few years, and a boarder opportunity also.

I don’t mean AAU is bad in anyway, it is not my dream school.

I go to AAU also and I’m heading into my fourth semester there. If I were you, I would stay at AAU for another semester to enhance your portfolio. The classes that you might be taking this Fall are probably PD1, DD2, MM2, and Rhino. I didn’t take MM2 yet, but the other three classes are really great to add work onto your portfolio. But, just remember that the teachers in PD1 and DD2 have very different teaching techniques and different projects, therefore, like I experienced, I gained a lot from my PD1 teacher compared to how much I loathed seeing my DD2 teacher.

Also, you should check what classes and how many credits the schools in Germany will transfer from AAU… assuming that they do that. Unless you’re thinking that you can start over in Germany? But really, don’t waste a full year doing nothing.

Hey guys, thanks for your responses. I think I’ll be going to germany. It was a tough decision, I would love to go back to AAU in a few weeks to start my third semester. But really, I don’t need to spend another 10,000 plus to improve my portfolio with DD and MM, especially since theres a good probability the credits won’t transfer. Most schools in the US wont take credits from AAU, I really doubt that a foreign school will. I won’t be doing nothing, I have been working hard on my sketching abilities, and doing some web design. I plan on taking some classes at a community college as well.

Take PD1 with Chris if you are only taking one class. Take DD2 with Kwan.
If you are really good at drawing, these two classes with prepare you for a tougher future.
I think they have the best value in the early year in AAU IDS Department.
$4k is a good amount to get educated, credit is nothing because you can only prove your skill with a great portfolio.

I think most art school won’t take credit from many school. Not just AAU.

Yeah, I would definitely take a PD1 class if I were you. I don’t know if they offer PD1 at a community college though. I think the classes that would really help you out in the long run would be PD1 and Rhino. But, it’s really your decision. Good luck with Germany!

I am in a somewhat similar situation.
I’m both Swedish and German but chose to go to school in the US for design after I finished a Bachelors degree in another field in Sweden.

I planned to finish my undergrad here in NYC and enter the senior year this fall.
But honestly, for me it is just not worth it. It is so incredibly expensive to go to school in the states. Just like health care, education is driven by profit.
So instead of signing on for another 40 grand, I decided to skip senior year and apply for grad school for ID (Konstfack) directly in Sweden.
Luckily I got in. Free education, here I come!

I wonder how long this system in the US will actually work. There is just no way that anybody can pay off the student loans with salary alone after they get out of school.
I came to NYC not because of the design school but rather because it was new york city, and I haven’t regretted my decision till this day but I am happy that I am about to leave.

I think it is the right decision and I am certain that there is nothing in the US that you won’t be able to learn in Germany for a fraction of the price.

btw, the ID grad program at Konstfack is taught in English and is free for anybody (even international students). Something to consider for anybody who wants to go grad but isn’t crazy enough to cough up another 100 grand.
But only 12 students are admitted though…

Hey Bebster. Were you studying IDS in New York? And if you were, did they transfer your credits from that school in NY to Konstfack? Or did your previous bachelors degree cover your admission to Konstfack? Anyway, I’m kinda jealous that the tuition to the school is free of charge minus living expenses and I also read up a bit on their site. Though, it sucks that you’re not going to finish up your senior year at the school in NY after putting a lot of time and money into it. Maybe I’ll try out Konstfack after I get my bachelors here :slight_smile:

Well, I have a previous bachelors degree in the Culinary Arts and Sommelier from Sweden.
So Konstfack admitted me based on my design portfolio that I worked on during my time at Parsons (Product Design) and technically on my previous Bachelors even though it’s not an ID degree. I was lucky that it seems like it was good and promising enough even though I have only been dealing with product design for 2 years without prior knowledge.

I don’t know if you understood me right in my previous post but I am switching to a graduate level course (Masters). So I am not losing any time and there are no credits to transfer. The work I put into my undergrad at Parsons is not lost. It helped me work out a portfolio that was acceptable to Konstfack.

I rather see it as winning a year by skipping thesis. I always wanted to go to grad school for design and was very happy that I can do it a year sooner than I thought.
So no, I am not sad about not getting a bachelors from Parsons because I won’t need it, considering that I will get a Masters from Konstfack, a (truth be told) much more accomplished ID/furniture department than Parsons.

Even though it might sound like it right now, I am not bitter or regret my move to Parsons. But that has less to do with Parsons and more with the fact that I had the privilege to meet amazing, influential people and even work for some of them in New York.


what German school did you decide on?

I just returned from studying in Wuppertal, small town, but great school.
Also, my advice would be to study in Germany but take internships in the US. European Practicum pays little and often with little responsibility.