International Connections


Kourtnie Stephenson

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design


Minor/option/emphasis: Journalism minor

Year: Junior
Hometown, State: Anita, Iowa

Type of experience: Study Abroad
Experience: London College of Fashion - Fashion Business Summer School
Experience website: http://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=fashionbusinesssummer
Destination: London, UK

Overall experience..
I had a great experience at London College of Fashion completing the Fashion Business Summer School. The instructors were all professionals from the field who took time out of their already business schedules to teach us about the real life industry as it is happening now. The projects that are assigned directly correlate to the information that you are learning and I had a lot of interest in the subjects that were being taught because everything was very specialized and tailor made, not just an general overview of a topic.

I learned...
I learned about this international opportunity my freshman year of college here at ISU through the Study Abroad Fair. I learned more information my sophomore year from Hannah Svensson herself (the study abroad advisor from London) when she came to Iowa State to talk about the program and knew that it was the program that I wanted to do.

An impact to my life...
Experiencing the culture of England has changed my perspective on a lot of things. I was also fortunate enough to go to Paris (which is included in your tuition for the program!), Scotland and Portugal. I think that traveling is a crucial part of life that can really shape how a person sees the world. This program also helped me TREMENDOUSLY educationally because the program was 12 credits. Those extra credits over the summer have allowed me to graduate a full year early with a four year degree. I am able to start working in the real world and chase my career dreams a full year earlier than I would've been able to had I not taken this program.

My most valuable learning experience...
When I went to Paris, I realized that Parisians are NOT as keen to those who do not speak French. It made me feel bad about myself because I was not able to communicate as well as I was used to. This made me realize how judgemental Americans can be to those who do not speak English when they come to the U.S. We should all be kind and try to help as much as we can, because I never want to feel the way I did when I was in Paris!

I will never forget...
I absolutely LOVED spending 3 days in Faro, Portugal. A friend and I spent the 3 days relaxing on the beach, eating amazing food, kayaking on the coast and experiencing the nightlife of Portugal. The people were all VERY nice and English was a second language there so communicating was not nearly as difficult as it was in Paris. Plus, Portuguese and Spanish are very similar and I have four years of Spanish education, so I was able to decipher a lot of the words on my own! Other than that, London is an absolutely beautiful city. It is very clean and the people are what they call, "British nice." I loved every experience I had in London and will definitely go back if I ever have the chance.

A surprising discovery...
I did not expect to learn how fast the industry is changing. It makes me realize that what we are learning in school... may not necessarily be accurate because the fashion industry is changing SO quickly. It has changed my perspective to always stay up to date on fashion news and other big news events that could affect the industry.

Advice for others...
DO IT! Studying abroad in a foreign country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will make friends from around the country, and make connections with some really great people that you can utilize later on in your career. An important thing I learned from one of my instructors is NETWORK = NET WORTH. You're only as valuable as the people you know. So venture out and make some new friends!!

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