Transformative Internship Experiences

A Reflective Journey at PLANET Architects 

Vienna, Austria.  June 2023 - September 2023

Purpose of the Internship

When I embarked on this internship, my primary goal was to gain valuable experience in a European architecture firm that integrated UX principles into its processes. While PLANET Architects didn't fully implement UX in all aspects, the exposure allowed me to witness a more noticeable application of UX compared to its competitors. There's room for improvement, but it's clear that PLANET's approach stands out.

Tasks and Responsibilities

My responsibilities at PLANET Architects were diverse, ranging from traditional architectural tasks like drafting, drawing, and model-making to more innovative endeavors. My unique goal of merging UX with architecture led me to collaborate closely with Magdalena Nalepa, the Head of Research and Innovations. I participated in a hackathon exploring AI integration, researched past competitions to understand their success factors, and delved into AI plugins for the firm's software. While my tasks were architecturally grounded, my involvement in UX-related initiatives marked a significant contribution to the organization's future goals.

How did these tasks contribute to the goals of the organization

Tasks such as exploring AI integration and researching competition projects aligned with the organization's objectives. AI integration promised cost savings, increased productivity, and enhanced idea generation, while competition research aimed to improve the chances of securing projects.

Skills and Knowledge

The internship significantly enhanced my software skills and introduced me to problem-solving and creative solutions. Integrating technology into the firm's processes was a new experience, showcasing the practical application of knowledge beyond what I had learned in my academic studies.

Application of Knowledge and Skills

The most tangible application of my skills occurred during competition projects, requiring a comprehensive understanding of various architectural aspects. The intersection of my UX journey allowed me to participate in organizational decision-making, extending my role beyond traditional architectural tasks.

Challenges and Solutions

A persistent challenge was the language barrier, a common obstacle in international experiences. However, this challenge also presented an opportunity for personal growth as I learned basic German. Navigating this barrier, I found ways to communicate effectively and contribute meaningfully to the team.

Cultural Experience

Living abroad in Austria provided a smooth adaptation due to previous exposure to diverse cultures. The healthy work-life balance in Austrian culture complemented the professional environment, contributing positively to my overall experience. The firsthand experience of Western work ethics was particularly insightful.

Professional Development

The internship reinforced my passion for architecture, yet I identified areas misaligned with my goals, such as the limited incorporation of UX principles. This realization motivates me to work harder within the UX paradigm, emphasizing its importance in architectural approaches.

Career Plans and Goals

The experience has solidified my commitment to architecture but with a renewed determination to advocate for the integration of UX, human-centered design, and co-design paradigms. My aspiration is to continue bridging the gap between architecture and UX, contributing to a more innovative and user-focused architectural landscape.

In conclusion, my abroad mobility internship at PLANET Architects has been a transformative journey, offering a blend of traditional architectural tasks and cutting-edge innovations, contributing to both personal and professional growth. The challenges encountered have shaped my adaptability, and the insights gained have fueled my commitment to a career that seamlessly merges architecture and UX design.

Bridging Cultures and Disciplines

Izmir/Torbali, Turkiye. February 2023 - May 2023 

Embarking on my Erasmus mobility internship in Turkey, my primary goal was to immerse myself in a new culture, exploring diverse approaches to architecture while delving into research. My home university in Bratislava lacked a strong focus on research, and I aimed to fill this gap during my time at Yasar University. Simultaneously, I had just begun studying Information Systems Design at Masaryk University, with the aspiration of merging architecture and UX design. Izmir became the ideal ground for initiating this journey.

Tasks and Responsibilities

My tasks revolved around problem-solving, even though they weren't explicitly human-centered. Conducting research at the TIAFI Community Center under the guidance of Dominika Potužáková and Meltem Gurel, my goal was to find solutions that genuinely benefited (displaced) people. This experience laid the foundation for my exploration of UX design in architecture. My research focused on the connection between food, culture, and architecture, aiming to provide guidelines for a community kitchen and dining room architecture for displaced Syrians in Izmir.

Additionally, I participated in a floor heating prototype project for refugee camps in Torbali led by the Swedish School of Architecture. Though not directly involved in research, I gained hands-on experience with the prototype and contributed to interviews, enhancing my understanding of displacement issues.

Skills and Knowledge

The internship honed my skills in working with sensitive topics such as culture and displacement. I learned the intricacies of human-centered and UX design in architecture, applying comprehensive research methodologies to my practice.

Challenges and Solutions

Shifting my paradigms in understanding architecture posed numerous challenges, notably with the Torbali heating prototype. The lack of involvement of displaced individuals in the design process led to unsatisfactory feedback. Language barriers and limited resources were additional hurdles. However, these challenges reinforced my creativity and problem-solving skills. Obtaining an Arabic translator in exchange for assisting at the community center highlighted the importance of resourcefulness.

Cultural Experience

Living abroad exposed me to a cultural landscape vastly different from Europe. Constant interaction with Syrian refugees and the local Turkish community expanded my worldview. The experience affirmed my belief that merging UX and architecture was the right decision, providing a more empathetic and people-centric approach.

Professional Development

While the internship did not allow for the direct application of my findings, it significantly influenced my latest project, emphasizing stakeholder involvement, especially the end-users, in all design development phases.


Though I couldn't directly implement my findings, I submitted recommendations to the TIAFI Community Center. The long-term impact remains unexplored, but the experience enriched my understanding of community-centered design.

Learning from Mistakes

The Torbali heating prototype failure altered my approach to future projects. Now, involving stakeholders, especially end-users, is fundamental in my design process.

Cultural Adaptation

Adapting to cultural differences in Turkey involved asking questions, being respectful, observing and engaging in local activities, and fostering mutual learning. These strategies proved invaluable in bridging cultural gaps and establishing connections.

In summary, my abroad mobility internship in Turkey was a transformative experience that not only broadened my cultural horizons but also shaped my professional identity. The fusion of architecture and UX design became not just a goal but a guiding principle in my career trajectory. The challenges encountered served as stepping stones for personal and professional growth, emphasizing the importance of empathy, inclusivity, and adaptability in the field of architecture and design.