THE ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES IN DESIGN EDUCATION: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY DESIGN WORKSHOP
International mobility in higher education has been gaining interest from various disciplines. The main purposes of international activities are to enrich intercultural and global understanding, knowledge exchange, collaboration in teaching and learning process. As a learning environment, international settings provide experiencing different methods and theories, widening the conceptual frameworks and developing complex perspectives. Internationalisation, which is often discussed to physical mobility, promotes border-crossing knowledge transfer, enhanced skills and perspectives, creative interactions with stakeholders that lead to reflective thinking in design education. Physical mobility with international experience is found to be valuable that triggers experiential learning. Being confronted with different theories, observing relative viewpoints other than the customary methods and diverging from highly described paths offer to initiate experiential learning cycle in order to engage people with different learning styles.
This paper aims to discuss the outcomes of an international workshop in design education that was held in Salzburg with Erasmus students of an Austrian University and a Turkish University for an intense one-week winter school program. Interdisciplinary mixed groups were formed from architecture, interior architecture and industrial design students to develop a project in different design scales of a given design problem. The purpose of the study was enhancing the interdisciplinary collaboration and intercultural experience. While the students of each discipline were assigned to solve design problem of their own scale, all group members were expected to collaborate with each other to integrate decisions that represent a unified design language in their final project. The results of the workshop and contributions of international collaboration was discussed where the communication is the main vehicle. The most successfully integrated projects were found to belong to the groups in which a high level of communication and different modes of knowledge exchange were observed during the workshop. In addition to face-to-face verbal communication, modes of knowledge exchange included hand drawings, scenario writing and sketching, pretending the process of object and space usage, modeling in computer, sharing the visual media and messaging via internet. Interviews with the group members revealed that interdisciplinary and international experience was valued to be a horizon widening experience for all.