American University of Beirut

Aya Itani | '16

Master Student in Urban Studies, 4CITIES​

Copenhagen, Denmark

Aya​ describes her rich and exceptional experience at LDEM, assures that the department highly competes with other European academic institutions she has attended while pursuing her graduate studies, and explains how the knowledge she gained at LDEM informed her academic track.​


How would you describe your BLA experience at LDEM?​​

It was a very rich experience on both personal and academic levels. We were extremely lucky to have teachers with diverse backgrounds challenging us to widen our understanding of different issues in landscape architecture.

Being part of LDEM was not reduced to attending classes or studios, it was rather an invitation for active engagement and social interaction with critical issues through workshops, conferences, seminars, and competitions that were facilitated through the department. This broadened our understanding of our role as landscape architects in contemporary issues and allowed us to bring what we encounter in our physical surroundings for discussion at the studio tables.​

You have visited several universities across Europe as part of the 4Cities program; how do you think LDEM compares to other academic institutions you have visited?​

As part of the 4cities program, we go to 6 universities with different administrative systems. In general, LDEM is very well developed compared to most of the departments I visited. Due to Covid-19, it is not very accurate to compare as classes have either shifted online or remained on campus with many restrictions. Despite it being an experimental situation and an exceptional experience, facilities at LDEM are well accessible, with a big focus on improving student life.

How did your experience at LDEM inform your academic research during your graduate studies?​

Exploring and analyzing sites, as part of the design process during my studies at LDEM, exposed me to the reality of challenges we discuss in my graduate studies. Developing the skill to understand a context was very helpful in grounding spatial theories and considering their relevance in real life.

Interacting with people from different social standings improved my communication skills and allowed me to explore multiple ways for retrieving information about a site under study. I currently find myself using similar strategies to work on my thesis.

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