Art Major Earns Academic Credit at Art and Design School in Belfast, Ireland

August 2010 By

OXFORD, Miss. - Kristen Vise of Jackson, a junior studio art major at the University of Mississippi, returns to the Oxford campus this month after studying during the spring semester at Ulster University School of Art and Design in Belfast, Ireland, and traveling throughout Europe this summer.

"Studying at the university and living in Belfast, a big city with an interesting history, provided the opportunity for me to grow as a person, a designer and a member of society," she said. "I took full advantage of the opportunity presented, and, for me personally, growth in these areas is what college should be about."

Through an arrangement between UM's Study Abroad Office and Ulster, Vise earned 15 hours of academic credit toward her UM degree. Her courses included corporate and advertising design, research and writing for design, and design for communication. A highlight of her trip was getting to know her fellow students.

"The students studying Design for Visual Communications were friendly, hard-working and excited about design," she said. "The class of around 50 students study together for three years in their design concentration and get to know each other quite well.

"My classes there were much different from my classes at Ole Miss, because they meet only once a week and are intensive on that day. They were challenging, but I learned a lot."

Vise also traveled extensively during the semester, then stayed the summer to see more of Europe before returning home in early August.

"I traveled to Madrid for New Year's Eve, Brussels to visit an Ole Miss roommate, Marseille to visit an Ole Miss friend, and to Paris and Barcelona alone," she said. She also visited Germany, Austria, Croatia, Italy and the Czech Republic.

Vise is a member of UM's Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, which along with "the good price and the town of Oxford" swayed her to attend Ole Miss. The Honors College provides undergraduate students from all disciplines with a vibrant center of academic excellence, merging intellectual rigor with public service.

"My educational experience so far has been diverse," she said. "I started as a biology major and took two art classes my freshmen year. The next year, I started minors in political science and Russian, and took a lot of studio art classes. As a junior, I decided to focus intensely on studio arts and applied for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. And now, I'm design and fine arts hardcore.

"I've had some excellent professors in and outside of my major."

She is slated to complete her bachelor's degree in December 2011. After graduation, she plans to either continue her studies or begin professional work.

"I will use design to intelligently, creatively and innovatively solve problems for clients," she said. "I am especially interested in areas where design and other disciplines such as science, business, sociology, architecture and engineering overlap."

Vise was among 109 Ole Miss students participating in UM Study Abroad programs this spring. Each year, the Study Abroad Office sends around 600 students abroad offering programs in more than 80 countries covering Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

A 2007 graduate of Jackson Academy, Vise is the daughter of Susan and Tim Dean, and Tommy Vise.

For more information on UM Study Abroad, visit outreach.olemiss.edu/study_abroad. To learn more about the Honors College, see honors.olemiss.edu or the Department of Art at olemiss.edu/depts/art.