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Malin Kamlah, Lisa Killinger, Tobias Tengler @ NSCAD, Halifax, Canada

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, currently three of our students are doing a study abroad: Malin Kamlah, 22, VK in Interdisciplinary Design, Lisa Killinger, 24, Mode in Textile/Fashion and Tobias Tengler, 22, Mode in Textile/Fashion/Fine Arts

Hey there, how’s it going? – not only a cliché but the typical greeting in Canada. Our first impression with Canadians was a really kind and welcoming experience. It is easy to get in touch, make friends or find people to just talk to. Especially in the beginning, this was very helpful for us to feel comfortable. We were even invited by a Canadian student to celebrate thanksgiving with him and his family. Canadian friendliness in general is certainly not just a stereotype! People thank the bus driver before getting off the bus, they usually hold the door open for strangers, and they say sorry even if they weren't at fault. In fact, they might even say sorry if someone else wants to pass them on a skateboard! Our expectation of a cold and snowy weather in Canada was not met by now. Halifax, which is located right beside the ocean, has a mild and quite warm climate during the end of summer and beginning of autumn. Fun fact, it randomly snowed a little in the middle of October but only for like fifteen minutes and then the sun shined again.

Studying at NSCAD / Art community in Halifax
With around 1000 students, NSCAD University is slightly bigger than the Design Department at Pforzheim University. Students at NSCAD usually start with a “Foundation Year” in which they get a general overview of different programs. From there, they choose their major from many Fine Arts programs or a more general Design program; however, they can keep their options open until later during their bachelor. In comparison to Pforzheim, NSCAD University is much more open for students to choose classes from different programs. A big difference to Pforzheim is that NSCAD emphasizes the teaching of basic knowledge especially in various techniques and computer programs, which becomes apparent through many smaller labor-intensive assignments throughout the semester. NSCAD University is split into three different campuses, which are spread all over Downtown Halifax. Even though, it takes about 30 minutes to get from the Port to the Fountain Campus – at least you have a nice walk along the boardwalk next to the ocean. Halifax has a small but very close artist community. There are various galleries and many exhibitions and artist talks happening. Every Monday evening, there is a vernissage at NSCAD’s gallery (“Anna Leonowens Gallery”). It’s a public event where the community meets to see the work of students or guest artists. Exhibitions change every week.

Design Interdisciplinary – Malin
Design Students can choose freely between many different classes, e.g. Typography, Photography or Design Studios. My classes are Interactive Design – Basics in HTML and CSS, CAD/CAM Jewelry & 3D – designing different objects with Rhino (also Jewelry – so cool!), Introduction in Product Design and Applied Photography. The assignments at NSCAD differ from the ones in Pforzheim mainly in the period of time until due date; students have more assignments but less time for each. Consequently, the assignments’ impact on the final grade differs as well. Even though I enjoy the variety of different techniques and basics, I wish I had more time for each subject to do in-depth research.

Textile/Fashion – Lisa
NSCAD has a strong focus on Textiles, which is why students at NSCAD can only major in Textiles and minor in Fashion. Therefore, they have a lot more specific textile classes and studios than Pforzheim does but fewer Fashion Design classes. I took Weaving – on looms, Off-Loom-Structures – Knots, Braiding, Twisting, Sprang and various other techniques off the loom, Introduction into Screenprinting – mixing colors with powder dyes and pigments, printing and discharging, and Introduction into Resist Dyeing – different resist and discharge techniques with chemical dye, such as PRO MX Colors and acid dye, as well as natural dye. Studio classes at NSCAD tend to have a very heavy workload; however, a variety of resources and studios allow students to work on each technique in depth. I absolutely recommend NSCAD’s textile classes. 

Textile/Fashion/Fine Arts - Tobi
SCAD’s approach to teaching is very school-like: students receive homework every week and assignments are not very open to adaptation. In one semester, we have many small projects in each subject, and we are given one to 3 weeks to finish each of them. Techniques have priority over concept and creativity. For example in painting, in order to get a better feeling and understanding of color and proportion, we started with acrylics and painted a lot of portraits, still lifes and copies. In the middle of the semester, we switched to oil. The paintings became bigger and harder. That taught me a lot about color and how to properly represent different surfaces – such as fruits, objects of low and high color intensity, skin tones, and shiny, reflective or see-through objects. All intro courses in the textile department are very craft-based and taught us a lot about material and techniques we can later use for our own collections.

Life in Halifax
K'jipuktuk, which is the Mi'kmaq name for Halifax, the language of the indigenous people native in Nova Scotia and the Maritimes, is the capital of Nova Scotia. It is an enjoyable city because everything in the center (Downtown and its surrounding areas) is in walking distance. There are many young people because Halifax has five big universities. This makes nightlife a lot of fun, and walking around after partying feels pretty safe. Partying is over quite soon, as bars and clubs close at 2 am. However, the main part is having a slice of pizza afterwards anyway. J Unfortunately, handsome men are fairly rare. Halifax has a beautiful boardwalk along the ocean which is one of the longest of Canada. The city also offers many recreational parks, like skate parks, and spots for canoeing. From Halifax, it is easy to access beautiful places all over Nova Scotia because of the city’s great location – especially in the fall during the Indian Summer, when the leaves turn into bright neon reds, yellows, oranges and purples. One of the most popular foods is the Poutine and lobster – very much recommended and very tasty!

Why study abroad? Experience! In our opinion, no matter if positive or negative experience, you always learn and grow from different cultures and syllabuses.