Research Team

Jenny Thai


I have learned about Italy and its culture and how to really experience a city beneath its surface, and not just be a ‘tourist'

I have learned that design is a process, and you need to consider the different elements and factors that are involved in that process when you want to design successfully.

It's the people and not just the place that make the experiences.

Developing strong relationships, collaboration, process, understanding context, openness to new ideas, having patience and passion, are things that I have learned to do better or have experienced in my academic career and during this field school.  These are things I will take with me.


Yes I would definitely recommend it.    To be able to visit the numerous studios and have sessions with world-class designers that I did while on the field school is not an opportunity that is readily available otherwise.  For any student going through the SIAT program at SFU Surrey or for anyone with a strong interest in design, the experience that you draw from this field school is beyond words and I feel so fortunate to have been provided this opportunity.


  • There were so many great moments and experiences during this trip that it becomes so difficult to pick out only a few of my favorites, but here is a condensed list:

  • Riding our bikes through the streets of Florence

  • Looking at the stars and taking walks with the group at night in the Tuscan countryside (and trying to catch fireflies)

  • Watching Italy in the World Cup 2006 games in the piazzas

  • Post-trip: Reminiscing with fellow participants about our experience in Italy.

  • Meeting Mendini and touring his studio, a prominent designer that we have studied.


  • "You don’t have to be scared. But you have to think [about] anything you design in life... I keep on telling this to the young ones in the factory, "Would you buy this yourself?", "Where would you put this?", and "What would you do?" Pose your questions and then you realize, whether it be a pair of shoes... whether it be a pair of socks... whether it be a tie... I'm sure sometimes when you dress yourself, you look at yourself, you never like yourself... but surely, "I don't like this shirt, I don't like this colour, I don't like that"... are you sure you don't like it? Or are you scared of someone else's judgment?" - Franco Dominici (Segis)

  • " can take a brand and make licensing and make distribution and make some money but you lose put in a stock exchange and *clap* *clap*(finished) So I think the passion of design is the same as in architecture because we are speaking about the quality of life for everybody. So that this is in some way the mission of this job (as a designer)." -Carlotta de Bevilacqua (Danese)


I really appreciated the Tuscan countryside for it's welcoming atmosphere and relaxing feel.

Also, the Piazza Della Signoria in Florence.  Even though there are a lot of people and tourists there, it's a great place to sit and enjoy the beautiful statues on display.


Currently in my 4th year majoring in Interaction Design, Bachelors of Science in Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT/SFU)

Completing an extended minor in Communication Studies and a Liberal Arts certificate

I was in my 3rd year in Interaction Design when I participated in the ItaliaDesign Field school program


Overall, my goals and interests are in the design field.

Going to graduate school is a possible path in my future and I would also like to do more traveling.

My ideal career would involve working in a challenging and creative environment and collaborating with other creative professionals.  The fields I'm interested in include interaction design, communication design and possibly architecture and industrial design.

Through my academic work and from this field school experience, I have learned that design is important in our lives, and that positive changes and experiences can be made through design.  So that is something I would like to achieve, to be able to contribute in a positive way through my work.


Birthday: January 23, 1983 (born in Victoria B.C.)
Interests: Design!  Photography, traveling, crafts, learning new things, reading