Design, as a word, may seem to have different meanings in different industries. As an aspiring User Experience (UX) Designer, I have a very structured and precisie view of design. My goals include enhancing user satisfaction by improving aspects of a product’s design including usability, accessibility, and genuine pleasure. Design, to me, is smoothly transitioned webpages, a thoughtful user journey, or a wearable device catered to all generations. Milan, as you already know, is the design capital of the world. The fashion designers in Milan look at design in a more beautified way where their goals many include creating a timeless aesthetic with their product lines. As someone who is fascinated by design and the various ways to define it, I believe that if all design-based industries collaborated and communicated, there could be a design revolution. I want to see what the fashion and design capital of the world can teach me as a User Experience Designer. I hope that studying abroad in Milan will give me the skills not only to expand my knowledge, but also to reflect on the foundation I have from my experiences leading up to my study abroad experience. I want to ensure that my time in Milan is focused on learning the Italian perspective of design through my coursework and my travels. Additionally, in my journey to grow as a person, I hope that studying abroad in Milan will allow me to reflect on where I am coming from and think deeply about who I want to be. I want to take these experiences back to the United States with me and apply my new expanded knowledge to my coursework, my UX design work, and my everyday life.
Three skills I want to acquire during my pursuit of becoming a UX designer include gaining universal perspectives, better leadership skills, and the ability to stay present and be aware of what lies in front of me. I strongly believe my experience in Milan will help me take these skills to the next level.
My whole life I have lived only in the United States and have been surrounded by nearly all Americans. My studies abroad will provide experiences with new cultures and help me to gain a better understanding and empathy for wider groups of people. In turn, this will immensely advance my UX career. Stepping away from the American culture will help me to enhance my universal design mindset, which is crucial to a successful UX designer. Great User Experience Designers make an effort to design for all audiences. The action of designing for diverse groups of people is called universal design. To achieve great universal design, the first step as a designer is to gain a universal perspective. Between my immersion to the Italian culture and my travels all around Europe, I hope to begin my journey of gaining a universal perspective on life that will in turn help me in my career.
Another skill I hope to leave Italy with is a deeper understanding of my ability to lead in my everyday life and my future career. I am fortunate to have had opportunities at Michigan State University to grow my diplomatic leadership skills. I have been a president of a club, and have held the role of team leader in multiple projects. Even with my previous experiences, I have not had the opportunity to improve my sense of leadership in my everyday life. While I live in Milan, I hope to gain the ability to see patterns in the world around me and brainstorm ideas of how I, as a designer, can use these in my future career. I lack confidence in being able to bring other into my thoughts and explain my perspectives and ideas so that we can learn together. I hope that my previous experiences and my new experiences in Europe will enhance my ability to include others in my ideas and lead them to join me in my design journey.
My final skill I hope to gain while abroad is something I have been working on for many years. My ability to stay present and take life one day at a time has been a struggle for me. Going to such a great university, I have had the ability to take advantage of many opportunities the university has to offer. But taking advantage of all these opportunities has led me to be busy and feeling as though I am “always on the go.” As I enter my life post graduation, I am aware that my life will be heavily focused on my career and I won’t have much time to take for myself. I am hoping that in my life abroad, I will learn to slow down and enjoy the present. I believe that this quality will allow me to be more aware of what may be right in front of me and may improve my ability to create great design. The American culture is very focused on being “always on the go” and I hope that my European exposure will help me to take time for myself, slow down, and allow life to happen.
I look forward to my time in Milan and am very excited to see what my future has in store for me. I am anxious to get my journey started and hope that studying abroad in Milan will set me up with the skills I need to achieve my goals and take advantage of every moment I have.