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Each year, students on the Gap Year program take London by storm as they explore the city and embark on a journey of self-discovery and cultural immersion. We caught up with Steffi to dive deeper into her unique experience at Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

How did you decide to enrol in the Gap Year program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art?

I wished to take some time off after I had already studied law school for three years. I wanted to explore whether the art world could be as interesting as law school had been. So I decided to talk to other people about plans for my gap year and searched the internet for an internship and/or educational program relating to art. I didn’t succeed in finding a program which suited my wishes until I spoke to my dad’s friends who recommended Sotheby’s Institute of Art. After looking at the Institute's Gap Year program I was immediately sold!

How would you describe the overall learning environment and the interaction with your fellow Gap Year students?

The learning environment felt relaxed and created a space in which every student could be themselves. Even though everyone was interested in different areas of the art world, there was an overarching interest in the industry. It felt like this improved the learning environment as everyone was eager to learn about the same topic.

My interaction with other Gap Year students was unique and it felt like I made some good friends who I hope to see again. Everyone was very welcoming and open to getting to know each other.

What was your day-to-day experience like?

My day-to-day experience cannot be captured in one general experience since every day was different. However, there was a pattern on weekdays. My days mostly started by walking to the Institute and grabbing a coffee on my way there. At the Institute we had a lecture and a lunch break. After that we usually went to one or two museums/galleries/art institutes to put the things we had learnt in perspective.

I had the chance to explore the city during the weekend, so I went to places such as the Gucci Cosmos exhibition, commercial galleries, the theatre, Christmas markets, Regent’s Park, and lots more. In my opinion, the balance between lectures/visits and free time was perfect.

What was your favourite site visit and what did you do?

I would highlight Frieze, Peggy Guggenheim, and the Alexander McQueen visits as my favorites.

All things considered, my favourite has to be Frieze. I was overwhelmed by the size of the art fair, the amount of people, stands, and art pieces. I discovered some really nice pieces and participated in a contest to guess the art and the associated artist. I tried to put all of the things we had learnt into practice.

How did your course leaders and the wider team help you adapt to being away from home?

Even though everything was new in the beginning, London felt like home quite quickly. This was partly due to the course leaders who were always there when we needed them and the group of students who were very welcoming. I want to thank the team at Sotheby’s Institute of Art for their help, support, and kindness.

Were there any academic or cultural challenges you encountered as a Gap student, and how did you overcome them?

I’ve experienced some difficulties with talking, listening, and writing in English, since it is not my native language. After a while I noticed that I made progress which excited me and gave me courage to go on.

How has the Gap Year program expanded your knowledge and appreciation of the art world?

The Gap Year program has expanded my knowledge and appreciation of the art world in so many ways. I feel more comfortable talking about art than I did before, even thought there is still so much to learn. I have started to appreciate contemporary art more and more due to the program and I have been thinking about a career in the art world. It would be great if I could find a combination of art and law in the future.

How will you take these experiences from the program into your life moving forward?

There has been a lot to take in during the Gap Year program so I will probably take some time to process and reflect on everything I have learnt, explored, and seen. However, I will take my art knowledge from the program into my life moving forward, to impress my friends or maybe even to start my career in the art world.