My name is Roché Smith Rabie and I am a Bachelor in Architectural Studies student from South Africa. I, like many other students at IE University, grew up as a global citizen, living in many countries other than that of my passport nation. While not always easy, it has given me a broader perspective of what the world has to offer, and allowed me to connect with people in a different way.
“IE University’s diversity has allowed me to have a deeper understanding of cultures that I haven't been exposed to before.”
Diving into the impact of architecture and design
Roché Smith Rabie is originally from South Africa, but has lived in different countries all over the world. This global upbringing—which sometimes proved to be a challenge—opened her mind to a wide variety of cultures, architecture and experiences. When choosing where to study, Roché was drawn to IE University for its international atmosphere and unique teaching methodologies.
As someone who’s lived in a variety of countries, which also meant living in different types of houses, Roché developed an interest in how buildings can affect people and their dynamics. She watched her family dynamic shift based on the house they were in due to the layout, distribution of space, interior and exterior connection, among other factors. Understanding that buildings impact humans on a much deeper level pushed her to explore the true impact of architecture and design, leading her to the Bachelor in Architectural Studies.
Roché loves the international atmosphere, as she thought she would. However, she didn’t realize how deep the diversity at IE University really goes. Describing the diversity as much wider than at any of her previous international schools growing up, Roché has loved the chance to gain new perspectives and a deeper understanding of cultures she wasn’t exposed to before.
Wanting to live out the full IE Experience, Roché has found ways to combine her love for writing and editing with her architectural studies—something she didn’t even realize was possible before IE University. She started as a writer for The Stork, IE University’s student-run newspaper, during her first year. She later became the editor of the Lifestyle section, then worked as the managing editor of the Segovia edition, and finally, served as the editor-in-chief. Although she’s stepped down as editor-in-chief, she is still involved as an advisor to the managerial board and enjoys being able to help guide the next generation of student voices. Roché is also an editor for IE University’s architecture and design student magazine, Prologue Magazine.
Inside the classroom, Roché’s favorite class is Architectural History. She finds it both interesting and incredibly important to look to the past in order to shape the future. The course teaches students to identify the similarities and differences in the way people live across continents and within countries, allowing them to think with a more global perspective and a better understanding of society. Additionally, Roché loves learning how to write about architecture, as well as the way in which varying perspectives on architectural writing can reveal a lot about society.
In her free time, you’ll likely find Roché in a pool. She used to swim competitively, but now it’s a way for her to disconnect from the world—it’s just her and the water. She also enjoys spending time with her friends at the park, watching movies at home, and has made it her personal mission to find the best coffee that Madrid has to offer.
As for advice for future Bachelor in Architectural Studies students? Roché would tell them to keep in mind that architecture isn’t just about drawing—it's about understanding how humans interact with buildings, as well as the various historical, cultural, economic and political factors that can alter this relationship. That said, she would encourage students to pursue their interests that are not directly linked to the industry, especially as these outside passions may have a connection to architecture that will allow students to unlock a niche to explore.