I love being able to think outside of the box and submerge myself in such an international environment. I’m seeing things in new ways, discovering the unknown, and developing the ability to zoom in on problems and understand things from many different perspectives.
I grew up in Madrid, where my parents are from. My family has always had a passion for traveling and discovering international cultures. We have visited Costa Rica, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, Mexico and many other places. I’m inspired by diversity and exploring new traditions, as well as various colors and flavors—all of which have been essential to my architectural studies.
Discovering the world through architecture
It was a privilege for María to explore new cultures from an early age. Her family trips around the globe helped inform her decision to attend IE University. She was drawn to the international opportunities for exchanges and internships, as well as the university’s renowned global environment.
Now in her fourth year of the Bachelor in Architectural Studies, María reflects on all the hard work she has put into her studies. Over the years she’s realized that architecture has transformed her mindset: she sees and thinks differently, and pays greater attention to detail and the wider context of her work. Architecture has also further sparked her curiosity. As a multidisciplinary degree, the program has exposed her to concepts from a variety of fields, from understanding how geothermal energy works to discovering the endemic species of the Strait of Hormuz.
María feels a great sense of accomplishment in discovering this new world perspective. Through the Bachelor in Architectural Studies, she notes, you transform into an architect and designer—which would not have been possible without the help of IE University staff and professors. The program’s tight-knit group of around 30 students has become a small family, María says, with supportive teachers who take an interest in your development.
Studying at the Segovia campus has been a fundamental part of María’s university experience and full of fond memories. Since Segovia is such a small city, it feels like a microcampus—you always run into someone you know. María also enjoys the convenience of everything being in walking distance.
Segovia has a “kind of magic that makes things happen,” she says. The scenery is so beautiful that certain memories become even fonder simply because of where they take place. Some of María’s favorite memories are sunsets on the mountains with friends, having a beer on the plazas and day trips to La Granja. Through living together and sharing such special moments, her architecture friends have quickly become sisters. María also enjoys how international the university is—with students from Morocco, Argentina, Colombia, Germany and more. One of the best parts of her experience has been finding people who are incredibly similar to her despite having such different backgrounds. Her group of friends loves traveling together, and they take advantage of opportunities to visit each other’s hometowns.
María has even teamed up with her fellow students to start their own design brand, The Thing Studio. The team currently designs earrings, but they plan to expand in the future. This personal project has been key to María’s professional development, and she is grateful for the essential tools that IE University has provided. For example, the studio creates earring designs using the university’s machinery for making architecture models.
In her spare time, María is also the head of the Arts Club, which hosts art lessons in a studio in the Casa de la Moneda. When she joined the club two years ago, it was pretty dormant. But since then—along with a friend who shares her passion for painting—she has taken over the organization, sharing events on social media to reach more people. Leading the club has helped María channel her creative energy and let off steam outside of the classroom, which has ultimately helped her studies. One of the highlights has been the sessions with professional artist Alberto Fernández Hurtado, who has taught the group artistic skills as well as important life lessons—such as how to maintain an open mindset, insight into overcoming failure and the importance of respecting differences.
Another highlight of María’s time at IE University was completing an exchange in Ciudad de Mexico. The adventure was a revelation for her, where she learned from a rich culture whose vibrant colors informed her architectural style. María has also had the exciting opportunity to enhance her professional development through internships in her third and fourth year at world-renowned studios. She is currently working in Lisbon for Miguel Judas, after completing an internship at Miralles Tagliabue EMBT the previous summer. Through these experiences María has discovered that she is more interested in residential and smaller scale architecture, and is excited to open her own design studio one day. For now, María is focused on successfully completing her studies and enjoying what she’s creating in order to pave a path toward her dream career.