"Learning new things, but at the same time getting a better handle on the familiar!"
The Kunsthochschule Kassel cooperates with numerous partner universities worldwide. Many students take advantage of this opportunity to gain experience while studying abroad, including product design student Florian Bremer. From April to September 2022, Bremer studied at Kyoto Seika University, Japan. A decision he still doesn't regret today: "A semester abroad is always a personal enrichment in many ways. You get to know many people and gain insights into how studying at an international university works. For example, I was able to study product design for a semester, which funnily enough is partly translated as 'life creation' there," explains Bremer.
At Kyoto Seika University, Bremer worked on "Beams-Japan," a collaborative project with the Japanese brand "Beams-Japan," where traditional Japanese cultural goods were translated into modern goods. In addition, the product design student has produced "Slip Molds" in the ceramics seminar. Bremer emphasizes that the university is excellently equipped and that the range of specialized studies is very broad. But the student also points out the difficulties of his study abroad: "All the courses were in Japanese, which made communication really difficult for me. Neither my teachers nor my fellow students knew English, which made communication immensely difficult. And my 10-week intensive Japanese course beforehand didn't really help me." The student was able to network with 13 exchange students, including as many as four students from Kassel, which made his situation a little easier, but his review is nevertheless also critical: "I would say that I had 50 percent good days and 50 percent bad days in Japan," says Bremer.
Despite these hurdles, the semester abroad in Japan was worth it for him. You only really get to know a country and its culture if you spend a longer period of time in that country. In addition, he says, it is an immense advantage to learn new things during a semester abroad, but at the same time to better understand familiar things. "I find it personally enriching to leave Europe for a while and get to know another language, religion and culture," says Bremer, motivating his fellow students.
Bremer has also worked in Japan as a photographer and editor for "JapanCraft21". He met founder Steve Beimel in an online talk and worked for Beimel's organization for a few months: "It was incredibly fortunate, because through this collaboration I gained insights into traditional workshops that I would never have had otherwise," says Bremer.
The student summarizes his experience in Japan as follows: "It was phenomenal, exhausting, intense, but absolutely rewarding. The studies, the nature and the culture. I don't think my words do justice to how I really experienced and perceived it. Of course, there were also many downsides, such as the political situation or the lack of pragmatism. It was very different from Kassel, and that's a good thing, because it showed me the cultural diversity." Florian Bremer is in his 11th semester studying product design at the Kunsthochschule Kassel and plans to graduate in May 2023. To the question of what exactly he's studying, he replies, "On paper, my focus is industrial design, but I'd say I'm studying drafting, with the whole professional range that term entails."
Bremer will talk about his semester abroad at 6 p.m. Jan. 10, 2023. The event will be held in Seminar Room 0223 (Atrium, Kassel University of the Arts). All interested parties are cordially invited.
(Text in German: Çiğdem Özdemir)