International Experience by L’École de design
Creatives entrusted with a huge responsibility for the future, designers must be able to combine openness to others, inquisitiveness, pragmatism and cultural awareness. Since 1999, L’École de design has been developing an ambitious strategy to offer its students a genuine international experience.
Opening up to the world
L’École de design and its representatives are actively involved in international organizations and professional and institutional networks for sharing and interacting with our peers to promote design and its teaching. This involvement has helped L’École de design earn a reputation as a truly international school.
Since 1999, the school has been a member of the Cumulus Association which brings together 250 training establishments in art, design & media, and which was presided over by Christian Guellerin, the school’s managing director, between 2007 and 2013. Its exchange policy with international partners and the support of Erasmus +, the European Union’s higher education mobility program, enables every student preparing the design degree MDes to carry out at least one international residence at the beginning of the course: an academic exchange or an internship in a company.
L’École de design is also a member of Campus France, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ international network for the promotion of French higher education, and has joined World Design Organisation, the first non-governmental organization in design.design.
Internships with partner schools
102 schools are now partners over 4 continents and cooperate with the regular international exchange service, like Edinburgh Napier University, one of our partner institutions. 90 students are hosted in Nantes each year, while our students are welcomed by the partner institutions. So for example, Charline Havart spent 6 months in Mexico, Alizée Parry, 6 months in Canada, while Baptiste Riom and Paul Houbron were in Australia.
Regardless of their training program, students carry out at least one of their internships abroad. Ophélie Brunet did an internship in Australia, Marc Teyssier at MIT à Boston in the United States, and Yan Huang was in Singapour. These exchange programs and internships abroad are an important aspect of their studies as all students must have obtained the TOEIC with a minimum score of 800 to graduate from L’École de design.
L’École de design welcomes on average 140 international students per year, which represents 10% of student numbers. For example, Mexican student Livier Ortiz graduated from the school in 2016, Brazilian student Marcelo Coelho graduated in 2018 with distinction and a commendation from the jury, and Korean student Seunghoon Han is in the 2nd year of Mutations of the Built Environment MDes. For the International Class, a specific program for the end of undergraduate studies (BDes) combining international exchange students and French students, structured around four options (Brand Design, Digital Media Design, Industrial Products and Retail & Interior Design) an Icelandic and Ukrainian student Íris Björk Björnsdóttir and Valeryia Godes were hosted. In the framework of their doctoral studies, Japanese student Naoki Kita and Czech student Markéta Fingerova were also welcomed to the school. Part of the school’s pedagogy is delivered by people who have trained or worked at international level. For example, Jérôme Héno is course leader in Graphic Design BDes, Sue Alouche lectures in marketing and methodology, Dolly Daou is head of the New Eating Habits Design Lab, to mention just a few.
An immersive experience in international metropolises
The opening of a first international studio in Qingdao (People’s Republic of China) in 2008 marked the kickoff of a policy to deploy studios in major international cities, primarily in emerging economies. All the studios offer trainee designers the same experience of long-term immersion (between 18 and 24 months), confronting them with the specific challenges of these environments and forcing them to question their reference points and attitudes. They constitute a real stepping stone to international careers at the end of their studies, with the guarantee of the framework of a recognized French institution.
Today, there are four working studios on four continents:
• China Studio in Shanghai (China), in partnership with the Academy of Fine Arts of Shanghai University
• India Studio in Pune (India), in partnership with Maharastra Institute of Technology
• Brazil Studio in São Paulo (Brazil) in partnership with Mackenzie University
• Le Studio Montréal (Quebec, Canada), in partnership with Centech
Another international project is currently under development as part of a cooperation project with the city of Cotonou in Benin with the objective of setting up a design school. This project responds to the development plan proposed by the government of Benin in terms of higher education and internationalization. It is coordinated by the development agency Sèmè City, and L’École de design is making a major contribution to educational engineering.
Sharing: international networks
The school participates actively in Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs. L’École de design Nantes Atlantique works particularly on methodological support for accelerating projects using design thinking tools to help promote them and ensure their integration by partner hubs. A challenge innovation has been set up as well as a creative jam in Lugo in Portugal. The school also has a partnership based on research in digital culture with JAIST (Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) in Japan.
The school’s international reputation also comes from the competitions in which its students take part. The fact of regularly having students winning major international design competitions is a key factor in boosting the school’s visibility: Rex Hackathon Deutsche Telekom, ACCOR Design Award, Ericsson Innovation Awards, World Skills in Web design, James Dyson Awards, Red Dot 2013 with Germain Verbrackel.
School alumni around the world
Many of the school’s graduates begin their career internationally. The international card serves as a real stepping stone, whether they are interaction designers, industrial designers or spatial designers. Fabien Grégoire, 2001 alumni, headed for Japan after graduating. He’s made a life for himself there and is now vice-president of design and brands for JVC Kenwood Corporation. Jérémy Godefroy, 2007 alumni, after spending several years in Japan is now working in Ustwo agency in Malmö, Sweden. Jean-Christophe Naour, who graduated the same year, has lived in Korea for many years and works at Samsung Electronics. As for Nicolas Guyon, 2009 alumni, he ventured into entrepreneurship, setting up Visionnaries 777 in Hong Kong. Andrews-Junior Kimbembé, who also graduated that year, is employed by Google in California, a part of the world where many of the school’s graduates have settled like Inès Le Bihan, 2013 alumni, who works for NIO.
The school’s graduates from abroad also have some impressive success stories. For example, Yang Bai, 2009 alumni, left China to carry out all his studies at L’École de design. And he’s never looked back. Today, he is a senior industrial designer at Decathlon. As for Zhao Zhifeng and Li Xiaoxi, 2008 alumni, they both went back to China. Respectively CIO and director of CHY Design, they now invite their partners and suppliers to come and learn about Design Thinking in France at L’École de design.
International Experience by L’École de design by the numbers
• 138 international students
• 40 different nationalities hosted in 2017-2018
• 155 outgoing mobility students
• 62 incoming mobility students
• 102 partner schools
• 11 programs taught in English
• 4 studios abroad: China, India, Brazil and Canada