University of Georgia’s College of Environment + Design: From international student to part of the community
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University of Georgia’s College of Environment + Design: From international student to part of the community

Moving to another country can be daunting but the best schools make the transition easy. The University of Georgia’s College of Environment + Design is located in Athens, just 60 miles northeast of Atlanta, a city with a strong visual and performing arts scene, live music, sumptuous food and innovative creators. All of these are yours to sample and experience — and getting here is seamless.

UGA is dedicated to ensuring you have all you need, even before you step foot on campus. Immigration advising and services are available to help you out with any visa sponsorship, travel and immigration issues. An impressive collection of resources covers other needs — these include information on local culture and values, educational differences, banking needs, financial aid, help on where to shop, key emergency numbers and student health insurance. The school has a dedicated platform for current international students. Here you can get information and advice on how to apply for health insurance, driver’s licence, special student relief, and more. For those who need it, UGA offers a rigorous, supportive and student-centred English language programme suitable for all levels.

A good start makes for a great experience at UGA. Guangzhao (Sophia) Zhang took on a new course “Landscape Studio Engagement,” which focused on service learning. The studio class got Zhang and her teammates to prepare a master plan for the revitalisation of Bowman Park, a small park in disrepair in Bowman, South Carolina. They had to find solutions to a wide range of resident concerns, from pedestrian safety to the state of the park’s playground equipment and the danger associated with falling tree limbs.

Zhang and her teammates completed this project as she navigated a new country and class formats. In the end, both her and her project found success. The project was selected for an award from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

“I think our UGA CED provides a great platform, or stage, for students to participate in various projects,” she says., “And I think the studio class is a great place to learn because it will make us better prepared for our future.”

No matter which programme you choose, international students find themselves at home at this college. Source: University of Georgia’s College of Environment + Design

Master’s programmes that take you further

The Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture (MLA) is where you can learn foundational knowledge, practical skills and design expertise needed to engage in both public service and private practice of landscape architecture. What makes this programme stand out is how practice-oriented it is. The curriculum focuses on strengthening creative and technical skills that are essential for succeeding in the field. Having that hands-on know-how gives you an edge in getting, keeping and advancing jobs.

The Master of Urban Planning and Design zeroes in on physical planning and design of the built environment. Here the emphasis is on applying visual graphics and understanding graphic design. To prepare you for a fulfilling career as a planner, the curriculum is studio-based, so you can develop and implement new ideas and technologies. This promotes innovation and students get involved in a variety of local, regional and international projects. This master’s programme also features interdisciplinary collaboration and engaging experiential learning.

A programme that dates back to 1982, the Master of Historic Preservation (MHP) programme prepares you to take on key roles in the growing fields of cultural resource management, preservation planning, and preservation advocacy, among others. This two-year degree has a small cohort made up of diverse students with various backgrounds, experiences and ages. As an MHP student, you might get involved with the college’s FindIt Historic Resource Survey Partnership too, where you get a taste of and training in performing surveys of historical/cultural resources.

There are unique courses in each of the CED’s master’s programmes. Source: University of Georgia’s College of Environment + Design

For instance, one summer, students were assigned to Dooly County in middle Georgia, south of Macon. Here they looked at properties that are at least 40 years old. Through FindIt, CED students have collected data on thousands of properties in more than 60 Georgia counties. “We see a lot of really cool stuff,” says Laura Kviklys, former Findit coordinator. “This programme takes students to places their classes can’t and teaches them to be professionals. The students get hands-on experience that can be valuable when looking for a full-time job.”

As CED graduates, those more academically inclined can progress to the PhD in Environmental Design and Planning. It’s housed within the college’s three discipline areas — landscape architecture, environmental planning, and historic preservation. Candidates propose and conduct research to support the design, planning, and management of the natural, cultural, and built environment through the integration of research methods and theories, innovative technologies, design and problem-solving and research-driven solutions.

To learn more about University of Georgia’s College of Environment + Design, click here.

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