Milano, Italy: Academic life as a Media Design student at NABA

Being an international capital of Art, Fashion and Design, Milano offers a wide range of art focused Universities, la Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti – NABA – being one of the more renowned ones. Offering Design Labs, Fashion Design Labs, Media Design Labs and Visual Art Labs, students have the possibility to fully immerse themselves into their creativity and practically realize all their projects. Students are able to engage with skilled craftsmen, as well as with the most modern and innovative fablabs, production and service centers. Besides that, students frequenting NABA in Milano can benefit from all the opportunities offered by this city, like cultural and artistic events, collaborators of NABA – institutions internationally distinguished, such as the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, the Triennale Milano and the Teatro alla Scala.

The Campus offers a vast quantity of buildings for not just classrooms, offices and laboratories, but also a library, a Materials Library, Student spaces like Study Halls, Computer rooms, the Student Lounge, green and outdoor spaces and the Campus Bar and Restaurant “The Corner”. 

As usual in Italy, students major in a specific degree, that is why there is no general “Media Design” degree, but three different majors connected to Media Design – Animation, Film Making and Game Design. We were admitted to the Animation course as our core degree, with courses like “Preproduction”, “Storyboard”, “2D Animation Techniques” and “3D Modelling” but we also have classes with the other specializations, like “New Media Aesthetics”, “Interaction Design” and “Game Culture”. 

Generally speaking, the workload, as far as what I experienced, is well balanced and gives you enough time to productively learn, but also enjoy your time abroad and meet new people. We do have one day of online classes, but this encompasses only two classes, which can be an advantage, because it gives us the opportunity to learn from great Designers not based in Milano – for example our Interaction Design professor lives in France. On the other side we also have one day of the week free and almost no classes in the afternoon. In Addition, we are free to join every class online if the need arises, which in my opinion is a great possibility for students from other areas of Italy to join classes without having to move to Milano. Although we do have a minimum attendance requirement of 70%, it can be either online or on-site and professors are forgiving if you just write an Email in case of an emergency like sickness or other things holding you back from attending. 

The main learning platform used by NABA is Blackboard, where we can access all class materials, as well as communicate with our professors and submit assignments. With our NABA credentials, we can access all platforms like One Drive, the E-Mails, the timetable, Zoom, the internal Platform MyNaba, as well as the campus computers, the Wi-Fi and the printers with only one set of password and username. 

In case something goes wrong, or you have a question, there are numerous offices for different divisions like IT, the semester abroad office, the segretaria, etc., you can contact. 

For programs you need for classes, which are only installed or licensed on the campus computers, there is the possibility to access the servers of the school from your own personal home devices.

Regarding the professors in my personal experience so far, they are all more than qualified in their field and have a lot of experience and know-how in conveying their ideas and knowledge. Another fact I value, is that most courses are shared between two professors with different focus areas, to give some examples, our Preproduction Professor has written over a dozen books and is an expert in storytelling and shares the course with another professor who is a talented concept artist. 2D Animation Techniques is shared by a professor experienced in animating by hand on paper, like animators in the times of Walt Disney and Co. used to do, and one which works digitally with the industry standard programs of 2D Animation. Our Interaction Design Professor worked with well-known brands like Ferrari, Tod’s, Moleskine, Toyota, Sky, Netflix and many more. Besides being highly qualified, most professors are also up to time and still working actively in their field. 

Looking back on my first month in Milano, I am more than happy with my choice to visit NABA and I am excited to see how this journey will unfold. 

Analena Voigt