Andrew Hilts is a Graphic Design student, minoring in Biology from Cary, North Carolina. Andrew had design work published in the Wall Street Journal and Wired Magazine. He was a student at NC State Prague during the Spring 2020 semester and when the COVID-19 kicked in the Czech Republic.
What is your favorite memory from Prague?
Attending ARTSEMESTR, a presentation of final and semester projects by UMPRUM students. There was something electric and inspirational about the scale of this event, the number of people in attendance, and what it meant for the design community in Prague.
How was studying in Prague different than studying back in Raleigh?
Being in a field of study that is extremely collaborative and exists in tandem with technology, my experience with studying in Prague was not too different from that of studying in Raleigh. While the European approach to design may be divergent in a variety of ways, the core of the subject stays unaltered.
What was your favorite subject at NC State Prague, and how did it impact your skills/creativity?
Taking Fashion Photography with Štěpánka Stein was one of the most rewarding experiences of my time in Prague. It provided another outlet to focus creative energy into, and the course itself was extremely collaborative. With us being only four other students, we had the opportunity to work intimately with one another and learn from each other’s past experiences. Our instructor, Štěpánka, continually pushed us out of our individual comfort zones and inspired us to do our best work each week. We became a little family that supported each other inside and outside of the classroom.
Check out the brochure Heský featuring the work of all the students on the Fashion Photography course, designed by Andrew at the end of the post.
What was your favorite place in Prague or the Czech Republic?
PageFive, a design bookstore and publishing house in Prague 7. I spent there quite an unreasonable amount of time! The main post office on Jindřišská is absolutely stunning.
What were the biggest challenges for you while studying in Prague?
The most challenging aspect of studying abroad in Prague at this time was living in fear of getting sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At a point during the program, we had to decide to make the most of each day, not knowing which would be our last, and stop living in fear. We took the necessary precautions, but once we pushed ourselves to face the reality of the situation, we could focus on making the most out of whatever time we had left.
How did the experience of studying abroad change you?
This experience provided me with a fuller, more realized sense of self that I believe I was lacking before spending time in Prague. The goal of any study abroad program is to open your eyes to new perspectives, expand your worldview, and challenge your paradigms — basically making the world more understandable for you to find your place within it. You have the opportunity to see and experience a variety of new things and an ability to use it to inform your future self.
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