SARUP Goes Study Abroad
Denise Zahran, UITS NOC Student Architect, NOMAS President
When people think of study abroad opportunities they worry about the expenses but they hesitate to see the incredible journey that they will be experiencing. While studying abroad for 2 months in Paris and Italy, with Dean Bob Greenstreet and Associate Professor Gil Snyder, I learned to be more open to others and observed the amazing thriving culture and breath- taking architecture that surrounded me.
Learning about the values of the individuals, communities, and countries as a whole was rewarding from an anthropological and architectural standpoint. Due to limited time, the days were long and filled with educational activities that sometimes lasted from early morning until late in the evening. Every day resulted in checking off more and more places off the endless list of places that I have been wanting to visit for a lifetime.
Not only was there a greater bond between the friends that went there together, but a strong connection between other students and most of all, staff. They held a positive vision for the students and constantly encouraged the undergrads and grad students to explore and to try to get out of their comfort zones. Gil Snyder and Dean Bob Greenstreet opened the eyes of many students to the endless possibilities that their careers could carry them to new opportunities. Not only were they inspirational but also became part of the group of students; slightly dissolving the layer that separated the students and faculty from one another. The world is our classroom and there is an extensive amount of it that we, as students and future architects, have yet to see.
Study Abroad Japan
UWM SARUP has been conducting architectural foreign study trips to Japan for 12 years. The trip is one month long, occurs in May/June each year, and typically includes 12 students and 2 professors. The group collaborates with several Japanese Universities including Osaka University, Wakayama University, Setsunan University, Osaka Institute of Technology, Kogakuin University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology.
The trip focuses on heritage and the challenging matter of preserving great landmark places. Work in Japan includes documenting and proposing additions to important historic buildings that are threatened with demolition. Students learn not only technical matters of historic building construction in Japan, but they also become aware of the tremendous challenge of keeping old buildings in extremely dense and growing countries. While the education is focused on architecture and building preservation, the experience is broad and holistic. Students are exposed to and interact in social ways that are unimaginable here or in Europe. Religion, entertainment, food, cultural habits, working and job conditions, living arrangements, sustainability, smart growth, transportation, etc., all add up to an experience that is life changing. These architectural study trips to Japan still remain unique among architectural schools in the US. This program is a terrific asset to SARUP and UWM, and places us in a very selective category of architectural education.
This year, a small group of Japanese professors and students from Osaka Institute of Technology conducted an architectural study trip to America. Their stops included New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles. The visit to Milwaukee gave their students a chance to see our University and interact with our students. The encounter represented an important exchange between two great Universities. It facilitated cross-cultural education and advanced the possibility for students to elevate their studies through international connections.
The Japanese partnership is important to the students at SARUP. As our architectural profession becomes more and more globalized, it becomes clear that international collaborations with countries from Asian are essential.