IEU Experience


Roché Smith Rabie did not have a very typical childhood. Born to South African parents, she’s spent a significant portion of her life in far-flung countries, including Mozambique, Qatar and Oman. As you can imagine, such an upbringing comes with its own unique challenges, but Roché only sees its benefits—becoming a more resilient, empathetic and open-minded individual.

New roots at IE University

As a widely traveled global citizen, Roché has a distinctly singular view of the world. The broad perspective has turned her into an effective people person, capable of forming connections across diverse backgrounds. It’s a particularly handy skill to have, given the interpersonal nature of her program, the Bachelor in Architectural Studies.

The international atmosphere is what first drew Roché to IE University, and it’s what convinced her to commit to the acclaimed five-year program. After living in so many different countries, she had developed an interest in architectural styles and decided to turn her passion into a long-term career. She wanted a program that would allow her to explore how architecture and design impact human beings—how we live, feel and socialize. The Bachelor in Architectural Studies fit the bill perfectly. 

Since joining the program, Roché has immersed herself fully into life at IE University. She says that studying at the university’s Segovia location, housed within a well-preserved 13th-century monastery, has helped her truly understand the relationship between architecture and legacy. Segovia is also home to the Fab Lab, a space filled with all the tools students need to bring their ideas to life.

At the crossroads of writing and architecture

One facet that makes the IE Experience unique is the opportunities students are given to explore their other interests and see how they connect to their areas of study. Roché has discovered that architecture is an incredibly broad field with many hidden facets. As she explains, “It’s not just drawing or making buildings; there are so many smaller parts of architecture that are equally as important but people just don’t know about.” 

Roché has always loved writing but wasn’t sure how it could overlap with architecture before coming to IE University. She started working with The Stork, the university’s independent student-run newspaper, in her first year. Though she began as a writer, she quickly climbed the ranks to lifestyle editor, then managing editor for Segovia before finally becoming the editor-in-chief. Her tenure recently came to an end but Roché is still involved with the managerial board in an advisory capacity.

These days, she dedicates her efforts to IE Insights in her role as an editorial intern. She’s become a regular contributor to the knowledge platform, writing informative articles on architecture, design and the humanities. Roché is also the editor of Prologue Magazine, IE University’s student-led publication for the built environment.   

Find your niche

Roché says the Bachelor in Architectural Studies has given her a whole new understanding of the field, including the historical, economic, sociocultural and political factors that can influence the relationship between humans and buildings. She encourages other students to use the program as a launching pad to develop their own unique interests, finding a niche that positions them as dynamic, competitive professionals.