International Connections


Ashley Martyniak

Major: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design


Minor/option/emphasis: Merchandising Emphasis; Event Managment Minor

Year: Junior
Hometown, State: Milwaukee,Wisconsin

Type of experience: Semester Abroad
Experience: London College of Fashion, Fashion Business Semester
Experience website: https://isuabroad.iastate.edu/?go=LCF
Destination: England

Overall experience..
My overall experience was incredible. I have met some amazing people from all over the world who I still remain in contact with today. As far as the London College of Fashion, I really appreciated my "tutors" (professors) being people who are currently working within the fashion industry. This allowed myself to get a completely different hands on learning experience with my studies. London itself is a marvelous city with always something to do, one can never get bored in a city that size.

I learned...
I actually learned about study abroad at orientation prior to even attending Iowa State. However, that sparked my interest which is when I then decided to attend the study abroad fair. That is where I learned more about my options for Apparel Merchandising and became interested in London.

An impact to my life...
This experience has really helped me grow as a person overall. Living in a different country and submerging myself not only in London's culture but everywhere else I traveled, encouraged myself to become more independent and self assured. The connections I made with my professors and people currently in the fashion industry throughout my studies at the London College of Fashion, have greatly helped further my future career.

My most valuable learning experience...
I would say the most valuable experience that I learned from was my overall experience. Moving to a different country forced myself to be more confident in my everyday life. It also taught me how to live in the "real world." Figuring out how to take the tube, bus, sometimes even trains in unfamiliar cities and countries taught myself valuable life lessons. One of which is to always be prepared. Whether that be an unexpected change in weather or a delay with your form of transportation.

I will never forget...
The most memorable experience I encountered was being able to be a part of one of the worlds biggest fashion weeks: London Fashion Week. From sitting front row at certain designer shows, to going to the PR events and even getting the opportunity to be at the designers showrooms. All of this allowed myself to physically interact with the garments/designers and be apart of the side of industry not a lot of "students" get to experience.

A surprising discovery...
What I didn't expect is how vast the apparel industry is. Everyone knows someone, in which case connecting and staying in touch with people is important. Putting yourself out there and networking can make a drastic impact in the industry. You never know who someone else knows.

Advice for others...
My advice is to not look back and just do it. As someone who was timid and didn't like to go out in public to do almost anything without a friend or buddy, I was incredibly nervous to move to another country. However, it was the best experience so far in my life. I met the most amazing people, got to travel to breathtaking countries and submerge myself in a variety of different cultures. I've walked away from this experience not only with more knowledge and skill within the fashion industry but also as a more self assured and confident individual.

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