College in Austria for International students

DBI Partners with Marshall International Center to Host Austrian

ViennaTo foster interest in the profession of architecture while promoting the international exchange of ideas, DBI recently participated in the George C. Marshall International Center’s Student Partnership Exchange Program (SPEP). The Marshall Center, based in Leesburg, Virginia, organizes the program in an effort to cultivate global understanding by providing high school and college students with the opportunity to experience foreign cultures and countries. The program celebrates the humanitarian spirit exemplified by Marshall’s European Recovery Program (the Marshall Plan), which orchestrated the economic revitalization of Europe after World War II and earned Marshall the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. Like the Marshall Plan, SPEP seeks to “strengthen the relationships between Europe and the United States” by engaging exchange students in an 8-day career exploration based on their individual interests and experience, as well as in activities that impart the host country’s history and heritage.

Volunteering to serve as a career exploration site, DBI was delighted to host 17-year-old high school student Marta Laginja, who had noted her interest in the architecture, construction, and engineering industry in her exchange program application.DSCN0886 From Vienna, Marta is an accomplished field hockey player (she is a member of the Senior National Team of Austria) who has traveled with her team to several countries, including Japan, South Africa, France, Russia, Germany, Spain, and Ireland. Her private travels have taken her to Egypt, Finland, Croatia, and Italy; her trip to Northern Virginia is her fifth experience as an exchange student, having participated in programs in Canada, China, and France (twice). Her visit precedes her graduation in June, after which she will decide what academic and professional paths to pursue in college.

Mentored by Director Raj Banga during her visit to DBI’s Virginia office, Marta, with remarkable poise and self-confidence, was eager to learn about the company and the design industry. Raj, after brief staff introductions, provided an overview of the firm and the types of commercial projects it pursues; in an effort to provide a real-world professional experience, Marta was included in several project meetings and scheduled activities. For an adaptive reuse project involving the establishment of a brewery in an old warehouse, Marta attended a client meeting to discuss the building’s structure, plan and layout changes, and engineering coordination. For another current project, requiring the creation of interior architecture for an educational facility, Marta joined a conference call with contractors to discuss cost estimates and pricing on finishes.

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