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Camberwell students talk about their Erasmus exchanges

Molly Bland 6
Molly Bland 6
Molly Bland’s Erasmus Exchange to Milan
Written by
Jane Cuppage
Published date
05 August 2016
What’s it like to do an Erasmus exchange as part of your undergraduate course at Camberwell? We asked 4 of our BA Illustration students about their experience.

Some of our courses at Camberwell College of Arts offer Erasmus Exchange to Europe. We have strong links with European Erasmus partners in France, Germany, Portugal, Sweden, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, Norway, and Spain to name but a few! During Erasmus there is formal recognition of your academic achievement during the period abroad, you can discuss Erasmus Exchange options with your course tutor in your first year. Students can go on exchange for a term or for a full year.

Isabel Ferguson's photograph in Bruges, Belgium

Isabel Ferguson’s photograph in Bruges, Belgium

Anna, Isabel, Mathilda and Molly went to 4 different universities in four different European cities. We asked them a number of questions, below are some of the answers and images from their Erasmus Exchange they have shared with us.

Anna Egorova from Russia went to Willem De Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, The Netherlands on her Illustration exchange. Anna found that the method of study differed from Camberwell, however she liked the opportunity to live life and try to work in a new environment. You can find Anna’s full story on Instagram by using her hashtag: #my162daysofrotterdam

View from Anna's window in Rotterdam

View from Anna’s window in Rotterdam

Isabel Ferguson went to Brussels on exchange at Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, she is originally from Manchester, England. She enjoyed exploring Brussels and Belgium, and meeting new people.

Bruges, Belgium, Isabel Ferguson

Bruges, Belgium, Isabel Ferguson

Mathilda Della Torre is French and Italian, she went on an Erasmus Exchange to Olivier de Serres in Paris, France and studied BTS Design Graphique (Option Imprime). She chose this particular university as it has a good reputation and she wanted to study in Paris.

Mathilda Della Torre Erasmus Exchange in Paris, France

Mathilda Della Torre Erasmus Exchange in Paris, France

Molly Bland from Lancaster, England studied at L’Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, Italy for her Erasmus Exchange. She realised while on exchange how well organised Camberwell is compared to the university in Milan.

Milan Cathedral, Milan, Italy, Molly Bland

Milan Cathedral, Milan, Italy, Molly Bland

Does the course at your Exchange University differ a lot from BA Illustration at Camberwell?

Isabel: Yes, there were only 10 people on my course in my year including myself. There were no one-to-one tutorials; therefore the relationships between the tutors and students was different.

Mathilda: The course at my exchange university was completely different, it was Graphic Design and I do Illustration. I found the French system much more academic, based on grades and less encouraging of developing your own personal style. However, it is more demanding and time consuming which results in a large portfolio of work to be produced in a short time, and you acquire multiple essential skills.

Molly: Very much! I studied five subjects per semester in Milan, so in the first semester I took print making, sculpture, life drawing and marble/stone techniques, then in the second semester I took screen printing, lino printing, drawing and book making.

Rooftops in Brussels, Isabel Ferguson

Rooftops in Brussels, Isabel Ferguson

Can you tell us about your home University, Camberwell?

Isabel: Camberwell, compared to ARBA-ESA is very friendly, the tutors at Camberwell seem much more interested in your practice and are more than happy to answer any questions and emails.

Mathilda: I loved my experience there! You really feel like there is creativity flowing in the corridors and people’s inspiration in the air.

Image of work by Molly Bland

Image of work by Molly Bland

Why did you choose to go on exchange to your chosen Erasmus university?

Anna: I watched the presentation about Willem de Kooning Academy and heard some good responses from people who saw the university. I also wanted to try studying in the Netherlands, as I heard it is famous for their design.

Willem de Kooning University, Rotterdam

Willem de Kooning University, Rotterdam

Isabel: Purely based on the information I found about the course. However, it was my second choice, Gothenburg, Sweden was my first.

Molly: Milan looked like a great city with lots of art and design to see and the university looked beautiful in the pictures.

Work by Mathilda Della Torre

Work by Mathilda Della Torre

Where did you live while on your exchange?

Anna: I rented a room in a flat with students from different universities.

Isabel: In student housing accommodation with 26 others.

Mathilda: I lived in a great neighbourhood (Bastille) with an elderly distant relative who had space in her apartment for me to rent a room.

Molly: I lived in an apartment about 25 minutes’ walk from Brera, with one flatmate, a lady called Roberta who is 34 and works for Coca Cola.

Molly Bland, Erasmus Exchange in Milan, Italy

Molly Bland, Erasmus Exchange in Milan, Italy

Rotterdam Zoo, Anna Egorova

Rotterdam Zoo, Anna Egorova

What did you like most about your exchange?

Mathilda: I loved being challenged and forcing myself to make the most of the experience in every situation I was put into. I loved meeting people who had a completely different outlook on art and life, re-discovering a beautiful city, learning about the field of Graphic Design and thus finding new ways to express my creativity.

Molly: Meeting lots of people from all over the world has been great and also gaining confidence to do things independently. I enjoyed working with different materials and techniques to what we have at Camberwell.

Windmills in The Netherlands, Anna Egorova

Windmills in The Netherlands, Anna Egorova

What have you taken away from this exchange?

Anna: It was a good experience, but I now understand how much I like Camberwell.

Isabel: I think it has helped me to become adaptable to difficult situations.

Mathilda: I have taken away some concrete knowledge about Graphic Design and I have mastered some computer skills that I did not have before. I also gained a clearer vision of where I want to go and not go in my career, and what potential directions I want to explore.

Molly: My patience was tested, but I think I’m a much more confident person now.

Brussels, Isabel Ferguson

Brussels, Isabel Ferguson

Do you have any advice for future students who will go on exchange or come for an exchange?

Anna: Try to talk with someone who already has been on that particular course.

Isabel: Make sure you can speak the language that the course is taught in, and do lots of research into the course.

Mathilda: The most important piece of advice I could give is to take every experience you come across as a positive one, even if it might not seem great at that moment in time. I can now look back and see how my Erasmus has helped me grow both as an individual and as an artist. Specifically, if you are going to study in France I would advise having a strong basis in French language, or you will find it extremely challenging to interact and learn as spoken English is limited.

Molly: My most important advice would be to stay calm! It will be scary and stressful at the beginning but then it will get really good – that is why I decided to extend my stay to the whole year!

Screen printing facilities at Willem de Kooning University, Anna Egorova

Screen printing facilities at Willem de Kooning Academy, Anna Egorova

Did you discover a favourite place local to your exchange university? 

Anna: Witte de Withstraat; there are lots of exhibitions and events, also some nice bars and cafes.

Isabel: Me and my flat mates would go to a great Jazz bar every week called Bonnefooi (it has free entrance and a photobooth).

Mathilda: So many places! Paris is the perfect city to get lost in as every street corner has a quiet place for you to admire the architecture or people watch. The cafes are a must for sketching, the fruit and vegetable markets are a feast for both eyes and mouth. Some of my favourite spots were: Marche d’Aligre, Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, La Grande Mosquee, Strasbourg Saint-Denis, Le Pause Café, Chez Prune, Du Pain et des Idees, Petit Palais, Café Richard, Galerie Graphem, Monnaie de Paris, East Mamma, La Coulee Verte, Eglise Saint-Merri, Shakespeare and Company, among many others.

Molly: There are hundreds of really good galleries nearby and lovely parks and bars. At the university there is a botanical garden which is a really nice place to sit and eat your lunch, or read, or draw!

Mathilda Della Torre sketches in Paris

Mathilda Della Torre sketches in Paris

What did you like most about the city your exchange was in?

Anna: The ability to ride a bicycle everywhere as it’s very safe.

Isabel: The cobbled streets, the fruit beer, the waffles and the frites with mayo!

Mathilda: Paris is definitely one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. I loved how inspiring every street corner was and it was great to have the time to take it all in.

Molly: So many exhibitions and art events to attend!

Anna Egorova, Rotterdam

Anna Egorova, Rotterdam

Related links:

Anna and Mathilda’s Instagram pages

AnnaIsabel and Molly’s Blog

Mathilda’s website

Erasmus Exchange