Catch Up with Our Erasmus+ Participants: Meet The Architecture Interns!
Our current Erasmus+ participants from the UK and Ireland are more than halfway through their placement here in Sicily. All twelve participants arrived here on 19th September, eight participants are living and working here in Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto and three others are living and working in Catania. This week we chatted to those who are completing a work placement in an architect’s office, we wanted to know how they are getting on in Sicily and how they are enjoying their experience.
Shayna is 24 and is from Kent, UK, she is working as an architectural assistant at a small, yet well-known architecture firm called Doria Architetti, which is based in Milazzo. Shayna feels very fortunate to find work experience in an architecture firm in Sicily after three years of undergraduate studies in architecture, she is very much enjoying herself and she said “I hope to gain new skills in the architecture side that will allow me to come back in the future and work when I am a qualified architect. I never realised I had an interest in learning Italian, therefore, I hope to be fluent by December. (Wishful thinking).” One of Shayna’s highlights of her stay here so far was visiting the volcanic islands, she said that it is an experience she will never forget. She also told us about living in Barcellona P.G; “When people travel to Sicily, I doubt they have heard of a small place named Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto. This town has hidden gems and the locals are so welcoming and treat you like family. This made adapting to the area so much easier it feels like I have lived here for months.”
Olga is 23 and is Polish but is currently living in London. Olga is working as an architectural assistant in that same company as Shayna, when asked about her work placement she told us; “The office I work in is busy at the moment, and many interesting projects are carried out. What is great about my workplace is the beautiful seaside town where the office is located. I hope to be involved in the projects at different stages, get to know more about concept statements and specification manuals.” Olga’s favourite thing about Italy is the “people, food and colourful landscape.”
Will, 25, is from Somerset, UK and he is working here as an architectural assistant at Bodàr bottega d’architettura studio in Barcellona P.G. Will recently completed a B.Sc in Architecture from the University of the West of England. He is planning on pursuing a career working with property development and architecture and he says that his current work placement has been a great way to use the skills which he has learned during his studies, in a practical, real life context. Will was able to tell us a bit about his current project:
“I am currently working on a 3D model for the expansion of a Covid 19 response centre for a hospital in Catania. This is an exciting opportunity to use the things which I have learned to help the local community in a response to the pandemic. I have always wanted to visit Sicily to experience the culture and learn about the beautiful buildings that create the setting for the placement. I would recommend this work placement to anyone who is looking to develop their portfolio of work in architecture. Bodàr bottega d’architettura studio is an incredible place to work, I was immediately made to feel at home here, and working with Giuseppe and Marco in the Barcellona Office has been the highlight of my architectural career. This placement has also given me more confidence in my own abilities and [I have enjoyed] working as a team to achieve a high-quality delivery of both the construction drawings and 3D renders of future projects.”
The highlight of Will’s experience has been learning about the diverse and dynamically changing Sicilian lifestyle; “There is a lot of construction work taking place and there are many historic buildings around which are in the process of a redevelopment or have an incredible potential for the future. The way in which these spaces are changing and developing makes me very positive about the future here and the charisma and charm of local people is contagious.” Like Olga, Will’s favourite thing about Italy is the sun, the beaches, the mountains, the food, the buildings, and the people!
Jessica is 21 and is from the midlands UK, she has a degree in architecture from the University of Liverpool and is completing her work placement at Andrea Guardo studios, in Catania, as an architectural assistant, it is a small practice and focuses mainly on refurbishments and interior design. “My placement links in with my studies and is perfect for me because it goes towards a compulsory 24 months’ work experience that I must get to be qualified as an architect in the UK. It is ideal for me to get experience in a practice before I do my Master’s in Architecture which I am planning to start next September.”
Jessica is really enjoying her placement and is learning a lot; “I have been learning how to use some rendering software, which will be really useful for me in the future. I am given quite a lot of responsibility and feel as though I am contributing towards the designs, I have also taken part in some client meetings and prepared some presentations for these, which has been very rewarding. I hope to continue improving my skills technically, also in terms of client meetings and how to conduct myself in a professional setting. I am hoping that I can take this knowledge with me in my next step of work experience in the UK.” Jessica also told us that her favourite thing about Italy is the way of life; “it is slower paced, and I don’t feel as much pressure as I would at home, everybody is really friendly and they put mental and physical health above work which is how it should be everywhere! The ethos here is very much about enjoying life and enjoying having free time rather than working yourself to death!”
By Michelle Madden