The Student Designer Experience

July 14 – August 4
Verona, Italy

The Value Proposition

The Designer Experience helps participants learn to adopt Design Thinking as a culture for innovation and creativity.
Our 2017 Designer Experience in Verona welcomes undergraduates, gap year and graduate students.
Come live and work with us. Express your talent. Innovate and create your value.

The Approach.

You matter.
This experience will give you a mirror on how you live your personal and professional life, and on how you can affect others around you.

Open the door.
How can you change the world? We won’t teach you how to boil the oceans or move impossible mountains. In fact, just the opposite. You can change the world in discrete steps with a few essential critical skills.

Leave the building. Enter the World
In the surrounding of Italian culture you will see the result of a celebrated designer experience, an ecosystem that adapts and evolves in a very humanistic way. The World depends on the interactions of people who possess the talent, capital and ideas. That is you. Make a difference.

The Method




The Journey

The Short-Course


  • Morning labs are conducted by our professional teaching staff 4 days each week.
  • Classes are held in 311Verona’s UX Lab, Verona’s most innovative learning space.
  • Our project-based learning approach opens windows into aspects of design thinking and gives students an untraditional format to explore their own imaginations.


  • HYBRIDS – Explore the concept of hybrid design. Having a great idea is just the first step. Turning that idea into reality is better. Having an idea succeed in the marketplace is the pinnacle of achievement.
  • INSPIRATION – Get inspired following your own created archive. Get deeper in your consciousness and follow the development of your ideas.
  • APPLICATION – start working on your project using your hands, mind and digital “weapons”. Come closer to your final target.
  • CREATION – Create your final project, make a working model, communicate it, and ​create a story through a video spot.
  • CELEBRATION – Celebrate your experience, show up your achievements and discuss it with visitors, friends and professors. You made a great step towards Design Methods and Application in Italy.


Participants will earn “Digital Badges” that valorize the acquired competencies. Badges are awarded and stored in a permanente digital locker. Your badges are with you – everywhere – always. Show them where it really matters:

  • Social Networks
  • Websites
  • Curriculum Vitae

The Coworking & Coliving Experience


You’ll have unlimited access to 311Verona, a coworking space and collaborative community of Italian professionals. However, your learning experience continues outside of the classroom.You’ll be surrounded by local designers, entrepreneurs and changemakers.


Share a beautiful home in the historical heart of the city with a group of students from all over the world. Immerse yourself in a culturally diverse ecosystem of people who’ll stimulate you to grow, become more empathic and to develop a global mindset. Every week you’ll take part in a different activity organised for and by your fellow colivers – masterminds, skillshares, workshops and even culinary experiences



Milan is the world’s fashion capital. Visit the studios of famous fashion designers.

Venice  is the world’s crossroads of commerce and culture, a city designed on a pallet of water and sky.

Florence – Stand on the Ponte Vecchio and imagine the creativity of Dante, Michelangelo, and the Medici family.

Lake Garda, nature’s beautiful design combining earth, water, and Alpine peaks against a bright blue sky.


  • Attend the world famous Opera Festival, set in the majestic Arena of Verona.
  • Watch live performances in the Old Roman Theater.
  • Cycle through the Valpollicella Valley vineyards, learn about the local wine producing traditions passed down through countless generations.
  • Take part in Food Events, Local chefs will lead you through Verona’s food markets and demonstrate “design and creativity” with in-home prep demonstrations.

The team

Sotirios Papadopoulos, COURSE INSTRUCTOR.
Sotirios is a design professor in Verona at the Fine Arts Academy. He holds a degree in Architecture from I.U.A.V. -Venice, Italy and a Master’s degree from U.S.C. – Los Angeles USA. Sotirios has been creating combinations of art works and design, focused on the fusion of artistic ideas and function for almost 20 years. He operates in the fields of Digital Painting, public and private constructions, industrial design, set design, outdoor and green design, and he works on the concept and supervision of various exhibitions, too. Many of his art-design works make part of private collections around the globe.

Stephen Wilmarth PROGRAM DIRECTOR.
Stephen brings a passion for education in the global market of ideas and 21st century entrepreneurship skills to the Student Designer Experience. Throughout his professional life, Stephen has been advancing the idea of “future work” through an integration of technology, culture, and “learning-by-doing.” As an author, educator and lecturer, Stephen has accurately predicted the effects of socio-technology trends on learning and teaching in the 21st century. As our Program Director, Stephen’s deep experience as a global education entrepreneur and change activist has helped to create a unique educational experience for a select group of learners.

Elena Lombardo COURSE MENTOR.
Italian by birth, Elena has lived, worked and studied in over 10 countries in Europe, Latin America and South East Asia. She studied International Business at The University of Kent and at City University of Hong Kong. She’s currently working with Fondazione Edulife and leading 311Verona’s coliving project. In the past she has founded and managed socially conscious projects in the fields of education, child protection and social entrepreneurship such as ExD Panama.

The Financials

Fundraising and Scholarships

We’ll help you set up your crowdfunding campaign through our platform. All personal fundraising will be matched up to $1000 by program sponsors. More details/tips for personal fundraising available upon submission of application.



Costs are all-inclusive of housing, most dinners (family style), bicycles, classroom (@311Verona), local transportation – Milan, Venice, Florence. Not included – International airfares,personal expenses, breakfast, luch and all weekend food expenses.

Number of students admitted

We have a total of 8 spots for this experience.