Success Stories: Julia Foley

Julia Foley is a Senior Interior Design student at WVU who is no stranger to traveling. With two study abroad experiences under her belt, Julia has spent a semester in England and has also visited Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic–all while earning credits toward her major.
Julia in a classroom
Julia working in WVU's Interior Design Lab
Julia Foley
Julia in front of the Berlin Wall
The Maria-Theresien-Platz Fountain in Vienna, Austria
View from Prague Castle
View from the Prague Castle

Q: How long was your summer study abroad trip and where did you go?

A: We were there for two weeks and in that time we went to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic is where we spent most of the trip and did our project.

Q: Tell me more about your project. What did you work on while you were there?

A: We had to design something that would benefit the community or something that inspired us along the way. I did a project for one of our professors who owns a building in Slavonice, Czech Republic. I redesigned his attic and made it into two apartments that he could lease out. They are still under construction, but I did a complete sketch-up and 3D renderings of the building.

Q: What was your favorite attraction during your entire 2-week trip?

A: Definitely the John Lennon Wall. It always changes and there are a ton of designs and artwork on it that are really beautiful.

Q: What was your favorite food that you tried?

A: In the Czech Republic it’s all about meat and potatoes. I really liked Schnitzel which is basically just fried chicken in a patty form. There are different kinds of schnitzel and I love all of them.

Q: How is the culture in the Czech Republic different than the culture here in the United States?

A: The people there [in Czech Republic] are definitely more laid back. They are not in a rush to get places and they were always really kind and hospitable. I’ve heard stories before about Americans not getting the most friendly welcome in a lot of places but that wasn’t the case in Slovonice.

Q: How has your study abroad experience benefited you?

A: Studying abroad in Prague allowed me to see different types of architecture and different styles so it has really helped broaden my horizons in terms of designing things. Before this trip I didn’t have an internship so this helped build my resume and gave me a lot of real world experience. It shows that I really like to travel and that I am an independent person since I traveled around the city to work on my project by myself a lot of the time.

Q: WVU’s Study Abroad program was recently named one of the top-25 study abroad programs in the nation. Would you agree with that?

A: Absolutely. I think WVU has a great study abroad program. That is why I have been on two trips as an undergraduate here. They always kept us in the loop and told us what we needed to do along the way to prepare. They also helped me transfer my credits when I returned which eliminated any stress on the academic side of things.

Q: What was your favorite memory from the trip?

A: My favorite part of the trip was when we visited a park in the Czech Republic and just kind of reflected on the time we spent there. It was really funny actually, while we were there we heard people singing Country Roads in Czech at a bar near us at the same time. Naturally, we had to go over and join them so we all went over and started singing it in English and it was like a little piece of West Virginia was there with me. It was a cool way to end the trip.

Q: How do you think this experience sets you apart from other students studying interior design?

A: I don’t think that a lot of design college students get the chance to study abroad while getting more design experience. So, the fact that I was able to do it twice is something that will hopefully set me apart and show employers that I have design experience outside of the U.S. too.

Q: What is next for you? Any plans after graduation?

A: After graduation I am actually going to move to Australia for a year. I am getting a working holiday visa to experience the culture and travel. I am hoping to work at a design store while I am there, but I am really just excited to experience a new place again.